Australia locates possible debris of missing airliner

Last Updated: Thu, Mar 20, 2014 04:30 hrs

Sydney, March 20 (IANS) Australia Thursday dispatched an aircraft to a remote area in southern Indian Ocean where two objects possibly connected to the Malaysian airliner that went missing March 8 have been reported.

A Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) P3 Orion was dispatched Thursday after Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) reported two objects possibly connected to the missing Malaysia Airlines passenger jet, Xinhua reported.

The Orion is being followed by three other vessels and will arrive at the location within the next few hours.

AMSA's Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC) Australia will hold a media briefing soon as it continues to coordinate the search for the missing Malaysian flight.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 vanished mysteriously about an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur March 8.

The Boeing 777-200ER was initially presumed to have crashed off the Vietnamese coast in the South China Sea.

The plane was scheduled to land in Beijing at 6.30 a.m. the same day. The 227 passengers on board included five Indians, 154 Chinese and 38 Malaysians.

Contact with the plane was lost along with its radar signal at 1.40 a.m. when it was flying over the air traffic control area of Ho Chi Minh City.

Extensive search activities have continued throughout Thursday in the southern Indian Ocean within the Australian Search and Rescue Region.

Five merchant ships responded to a broadcast to shipping issued by RCC Australia Monday night.

Four merchant ships have transited through the area over the past two days with a fifth ship expected to arrive in the area.

Xinhua has been told by an AMSA spokesman of the area's extreme remoteness.

"It is a challenging search operation and AMSA continues to hold grave fears for the passengers and crew on board the missing flight," the spokesman was quoted as saying.

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