China expanded its search operation area for Malaysia Airline MH370 on Friday, the seventh day after contact with the aircraft was lost.
MORE COVERAGE OF MALAYSIA PLANE CRASH
China continued its search and rescue operation in the waters suspected to be the missing site of the jet. By 12:00 Friday, Chinese search forces, including eight vessels, two warplanes and five helicopters, had searched a total of 51,197 square km of waters, and nothing related to the plane had been found, according to the China Maritime Search and Rescue Center.
The center collected and analyzed the situations of China’s search operation on Friday morning.
“China will expand search area. Malaysia also hopes we could conduct our search operation at the Strait of Malacca. The patrol ship Haixun 31 which is now searching in the Gulf of Thailand will leave for the Strait of Malacca at 18:00 today,” said Zhi Guanglu, deputy director of the center.
Haixun 31 left the waters around the Gulf of Thailand for the strait at 18:00 after searching over 60,000 square kilometers for more than 120 hours without finding any sign of the aircraft. Meanwhile, merchant ships traveling the strait will be organized to join the search operation.
The rescue vessel “South China Sea Rescue 101” ruled out a suspect object on Friday morning after its crew member dived into the water and found out it had nothing to do with the missing flight.
Meanwhile, Chinese naval vessel Yongxingdao arrived in the waters east of the suspected site of the missing plane at 15:00, Friday.
Jinggangshan on Thursday headed for the suspect site of the missing jet where three floating objects were spotted by Chinese satellites. Two helicopters took off at about 17:30, heading for the suspect site. After about 50 minutes’ flight, they arrived at the waters, but found nothing related to the missing jet after more than two hours’ air search.
The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200 left Kuala Lumpur at 00:41 Beijing time on March 8 and was scheduled to land in Beijing at 6:30 a.m..
Contact with the aircraft was lost while it was over the Ho Chi Minh City air traffic control area in Vietnam.
The airliner was carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew, including 154 Chinese.