SUBANG, May 4 – Two Chinese military aircraft that had helped to search for a missing Malaysian airliner in the southern Indian Ocean flew back to China today from the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) base here. The IL-76s aircraft of the People’s Liberation Army, with 38 crew and military personnel, had conducted the search off the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Base Pearce in Perth. The planes departed Subang at 8 am and 8.30 am after having flown in to the RMAF base from Australia at 2.45 pm yesterday for refuelling and an overnight rest for the crew and military personnel.
The Chinese search team, led by Senior Colonel Liu Dian Jun, returned after it was announced last Monday that the multinational deepwater search for the Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight, MH370, had entered a new phase. Flight MH370, with 239 people aboard, left the KL International Airport at 12.41 am on March 8 and disappeared from radar screens about an hour later while over the South China Sea. It was to have arrived in Beijing at 6.30 am on the same day. A multinational search was mounted for the Boeing 777-200 aircraft, first in the South China Sea and then, after it was learnt that the plane had veered off course, in the southern Indian Ocean.