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Search of missing MH370 now focused on South China Sea, Malacca Strait: Hishammuddin

Published on Mar 12, 2014 5:55 PM

Malaysia's Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said that search and rescue efforts for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight are now focused on two bodies of water - the South China Sea and the Strait of Malacca.

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, Mr Hishamuddin said the search area has been extended to 27,000 square nautical miles. There are also now some 42 ships and 39 aircraft involved in the operations, he added.  

"We have, till today, not found anything," Mr Hishamuddin said. 

He added that more experts will be brought in to look at the flight data. 

A map of a flight plan is seen on a computer screen during a meeting before a mission to find the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 that disappeared from radar screens in the early hours of Saturday, at Phu Quoc Airport on Phu Quoc Island March 10, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

Responding mounting criticism on the search efforts, Mr Hishammuddin said there was no “confusion”. 

“I don’t think so. It’s far from it. It’s only confusion if you want it to be seen as confusion,” he said. 

Malaysia's air force chief, Rodzali Daud, said military radar had a spotted a "plot" 200 miles north-west of the island of Penang at around 2.15am on Saturday but it could not confirm if that was the missing MH370.

Officials at the press conference have also maintained that MH370 made a turn back remains a possibility untill experts say otherwise. Malaysia will release raw radar data if US aviation authorities can confirm if data pertains to MH370. 

An aviation official also added that the plane could have flown below radar till it ran out of fuel.