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Search corridors for Malaysia Airlines MH370 narrowed as more countries roped in: Minister

Published on Mar 18, 2014 5:54 PM
 

KUALA LUMPUR - The search and rescue operations for the missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) jet have narrowed the search corridors over the past 24 hours, with Indonesia and Australia leading the southern corridor and China and Kazakhstan leading the northern corridor, Malaysia's Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said on Tuesday.

It is also established that no passenger on board the missing flight MH370 had received pilot training, said MAS chief executive officer Ahmad Jauhari Yahya. 

At a daily press conference held at Sama-Sama Hotel in Sepang, Mr Hishammuddin said Malaysia has also sought help from almost all Asean leaders to reinforce air and surface assets.

Nine countries not located along the corridors are also assisting in the search and rescue operations, he said, adding that the total search area is now 2.24 million square nautical miles.

Malaysia's acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein (centre) is accompanied by Deputy Foreign Minister Hamzah Zainudin (left) and Department of Civil Aviation's Director General Azharuddin Abdul Rahman as he addresses reporters about the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on March 17, 2014. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

"This is an enormous search area and it is something that Malaysia cannot possibly search on its own," Mr Hishammuddin said. "We are therefore very pleased that so many countries have come forward to offer assistance and support to the SAR operation."

Foreign Minister Anifah Aman, who was also present at the press briefing, said it was impossible for so many countries to join in the search if Malaysia did not have good relations with these countries.

The search for the missing jetliner entered it 11th day on Tuesday, a day after Malaysia revealed that the last words heard from the cockpit came from the co-pilot, Fariq Abdul Hamid, but could not say whether he signed off before or after a communications system was disabled.

The revelation on Monday appeared to be backtracking from an earlier assertion that the system was disabled before the pilot signed off, which had raised the question of whether one or both pilots were responsible for it, and if not, why they had not reported the situation to air traffic control.

Mr Hashammuddin also said on Monday that police were looking at the possiblity of pilot suicide, among others.

China said on Tuesday that no evidence has been found linking the 153 Chinese passengers aboard MH370 to terror or hijacking.

MH370 graphic

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