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MH370: No conclusive evidence found, says Hishammuddin

Published on Mar 21, 2014 3:57 PM
 
Malaysia's Minister of Defence and Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein (left) listens to a question during a press conference at a hotel near Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) in Sepang on March 20, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

Despite redirecting of assets in the southern Indian Ocean in the search for the missing MH370 plane, no debris has been found so far, Malaysia's Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said on Friday.

"We have not found anything concrete yet," he told reporters waiting for updates on the missing Malaysia Airlines plane at the Sama-Sama hotel in Kuala Lumpur.

"We have been very consistent in making sure every lead is corroborated. Our main focus is in the area we announced yesterday," he said.

He was speaking after a search force on Friday morning resumed the hunt for the plane in the remote southern Indian Ocean, where satellite images indicated "credible" evidence of large debris.

"You must appreciate the area they are searching is huge. We are also looking at weather conditions but let me assure everybody here that the equipment - the Poseidon and the Orions - are the most sophisticated assets. They do not belong to Malaysia. It is truly a multinational effort," Mr Hishammuddin said.

Australia on Thursday directed four long-range surveillance aircraft - including one each from the United States and New Zealand - to the area where the debris was spotted. The two Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) P-3 Orion aircraft, a Royal New Zealand Air Force Orion and a US Navy P-8 Poseidon arrived there earlier.

An RAAF C-130 Hercules aircraft was also sent to drop marker buoys to assist in modelling the ocean drifts to help in the search for the debris. A merchant ship also arrived to help after responding to Australia's request. Another merchant ship and the Royal Australian Navy ship HMAS Success are on the way.

Australia's Defence Minister David Johnston had said it could take two to three days to know anything more definite. Australia cautioned that it may be difficult to find the debris due to ocean drift.

Families of the 239 passengers and crew members on board the flight that vanished in the early hours of March 8 en route to Beijing, have been frustrated by the long wait and lack of information.

Mr Hishammuddin said he understood the families' frustration.

"One thing positive that come out of this is that Malaysians are united and praying we recover and find the plane.

"It is not just Malaysia. I am getting support and prayers from people all over the world. I think that is something that gives me strength to continue and persevere. This one cuts across race, religion and now it cuts across boundaries among nations," he said.

yyennie@sph.com.sg

MH370 Australia graphic

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