Oman


UAE jets comb Indian Ocean for missing Malaysian plane


For representation purpose only. Photo - Reuters

Muscat: The UAE's Armed Forces have deployed two search and rescue aircraft for the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which vanished from radars on March 8 with 239 passengers and crew on board, the UAE's official news agency WAM said. 

The planes will comb a wide area of the Indian Ocean extending up to Australia. 

A new phase of search-and-rescue operations are being carried out across two corridors – the northern corridor stretching from Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to northern Thailand, and the southern corridor stretching from Indonesia to southern Indian Ocean covering a total area of over 2.24 million square nautical miles.

"The search operations involving all the countries began from Tuesday on both the corridors," confirmed Malaysian Ambassador to Oman, Dato Rustam Yahaya, adding that this would help the foreign data to narrow down the expansive search grid, especially in the Indian Ocean.

The ambassador said that they were now looking at the possibility of the plane flying on for thousands of miles before disappearing. "A Kuala Lumpur-Beijing flight could be expected to be loaded with about six to eight hours of jet fuel to cover the distance, with additional reserves to cover delays in air traffic and a possible diversion to a nearby airport. So it could go anywhere," he said.

Besides, there is theory which is based on live data that was automatically transmitted from the plane's engines to a routine maintenance and monitoring system set up by the engines' manufacturer Rolls-Royce.

The system allows Rolls-Royce to analyse its engines' performance, as well as the altitude and speed of the jet.

The data from Flight MH370 apparently suggests that the engines kept running for around four hours after its last known moment of contact. Based on the plane's cruising speed, this means it could have travelled an additional 2,200 nautical miles, reaching points as far as the South Indian Ocean to Northern Thailand.

Officials are reportedly pursuing the possibility that a pilot or someone else on board the plane may have diverted it towards an undisclosed location after intentionally turning off the plane's transponders to avoid radar detection.

Countries that are involved in the search mission include Malaysia, Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei, China, France, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Myanmar, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Turkmenistan, the UAE, the UK, the US, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam. "The search operations took some time to begin as for the last couple of days, the Malaysian government has been working on diplomatic, technical and logistical aspects for a search for MH370," the ambassador added.

Earlier, Malaysia's foreign ministry sent diplomatic notes to all countries involved in the search and rescue operation.

This includes two groups: first, the countries in the search corridors; and second, countries from which it is seeking assistance and expertise.

"For countries in the search corridors, we are requesting radar and satellite information, as well as specific assets for the search and rescue operation. We are also asking them to share their land, sea and aerial search and rescue action plans with the Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Malaysia, so that we can coordinate the search effort," he added. - With inputs from agencies

To get in touch with the reporter: rahuldas@timesofoman.com

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