KUALA LUMPUR, March 10 – As the third day of the search and rescue operations for MH370 draw to a close with no signs of the aircraft, the authorities have expanded the area of search, both on sea and land. According to the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA), the Malaysian lead agency in the search, the area now include more than 100 nautical square miles (185.2 km) covering waters on the East and and West of Peninsular Malaysia.
“We have also conducted search on land. We have covered a part of Northern Sumatera. We are enlarging our area of search in the last few days,” DCA director-general Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman told reporters here during the last Press briefing at 8.10pm, Monday.
Showing reporters a map of the search area— divided into boxed areas – he said that the search would move northwards in the South China Sea in the East, and in the West from the Straits of Malacca, moving into the Andaman Sea. “We have divided the areas into blocks and each ship is assigned to each block, each aircraft assigned to each block,” he said.
Azaruddin stressed that the search will be intensified as it was “very very important” to locate the aircraft. “Without finding the aircraft or parts of the aircraft, we are unable to identify the cause of this incident,” he said. On several reports in the Vietnamese media quoting authorities, claiming to have found debris akin to aircraft parts, Azaruddin said the reports were unverified.
“What Vietnam does is that they report to me whatever they find. Whenever we receive news, whether from the media or somewhere else, we straightaway contact our counterpart in Vietnam and all the while, they have denied that they have found objects or any parts, that’s a fact, that’s always the case.
“We have to be very careful, when we say we have found this and this,” he said, adding that the authorities do not want to give any false hope with speculations. It is very difficult to say, we do not know exactly what happened to the aircraft. We cannot speculate and do guesswork, it got to be scientific… forensic,” he added.
MH370, a code share flight with China Southern Airlines, left KLIA for Beijing at 12:41am Saturday morning. All communication with the plane was lost at 2:40am and no distress signal or call was received. The flight had registered 239 passengers, 38 of them Malaysian. It was scheduled to arrive at Beijing International Airport at 6:30am, Saturday.