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Outback-style 'media centre' set up at Australian air base

Published on Mar 25, 2014 8:13 PM

THE cars slow down at this spot on Western Australia's Great Northern Highway and drivers blast their horns before speeding off. A passing pedestrian wanders up and hollers across the chain link fence: Have they found the plane yet?

The Royal Australian Air Force's Base Pearce 35km north of Perth doesn't normally get more attention than the vineyards in the vicinity. These days, it is gracing headlines as the world grapples with its biggest aviation mystery yet: What happened to Malaysia Airlines flight MH370?

An assortment of search planes from countries like China, Japan, United States and New Zealand have joined the Australian fleet here, from where they fly to the remote southern Indian Ocean to scan for debris. Data suggest that the Boeing 777-200 had gone down in this desolate part of the vast Indian Ocean hours after disappearing from radar screens on the morning of March 8.

The patch of grass just by the entrance of the base is a sea of cars, tents, generators, satellite dishes and even campervans as journalists around the world wait for news of debris sighting from the pilots fresh off their 10-hour flights.

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