• Saturday, November 01, 2014

Latest sightings 'credible', not confirmed, says Malaysia

The Straits Times
Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Tun Hussein. Photo: The Star
Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Tun Hussein. Photo: The Star

Every effort is being made to locate the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370, said acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, stressing that the latest "credible" sightings have yet to be confirmed.

The search for the missing plane entered its 13th day on Thursday and efforts were redirected to a location some 2,500 kilometres south-west of Perth after Australia said that two objects - one estimated at 24 metres long - had been spotted in the southern Indian Ocean.

At a daily press briefing, Hishammuddin said Prime Minister Najib Razak received a call from his Australian counterpart Tony Abbott on Thursday morning on the latest findings.

He added that the latest sightings, while credible, are yet to be confirmed if they are linked to MH370.

A high-level team is leaving for Beijing on Thursday evening to help the Chinese families, he added.

Describing it as the "best lead we have", Australian Maritime Safety Authority official John Young told a press briefing in Canberra earlier on Thursday that the objects were "bobbing up and down over the surface".

Australia has sent four search aircraft - including one each from the US and New Zealand - and two ships to the area where the debris was located while another merchant ship has also been asked to go there. It takes four hours for an aircraft flying out of base in Perth to reach the location.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott told parliament the images represented "new and credible information" but stressed that the link with flight MH370 had still to be confirmed.

Families of the passengers aboard the plane are due to be briefed on Thursday night by Malaysia investigators on the latest findings.

Some remained hopeful that their loved ones are still alive.

Selamat Omar, father of Malayian engineer Khairul Selamat who took the flight told The Straits Times, "We are still waiting for verification from the authorities. If it's really MH370, we will accept that fate."

Wen Wancheng, whose son is a passenger on the flight, said in Beijing: "My son is still alive. I don't believe the news."

Published: 5:23 pm Thursday, March 20, 2014

Last modified: 7:38 pm Thursday, March 20, 2014

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