UK & World News

  • 1 April 2014, 9:36

MH370: Malaysia Meets US Over 'Deep-Sea Kit'

Two hundred aircrew are continuing to scour the sea for missing flight MH370, as Malaysian and US officials hold a meeting about using specialised deep-sea search and recovery equipment.

Time is running out to find the aircraft's black box, which is likely to lose power approximately 30 days after any crash.

Ten planes and nine ships are involved in Tuesday's search and Australian Defence Minister David Johnston said 200 aviators were looking for debris from the Malaysia Airlines flight.

Australian ship Ocean Shield joined the hunt on Monday night, equipped with a sophisticated US black box locator and an underwater drone.

Tuesday's search is covering 64,975 square kilometres (25,087 square miles) in the Indian Ocean west of Perth.

However, weather conditions in the area are expected to be poor, with areas of low visibility.

Malaysia's acting transport minister, Hishammuddin Hussein, will not hold a news conference on Tuesday, but is heading to Hawaii to discuss getting access to "more specific military assets".

Mr Hussein said: "I shall be discussing with the United States, and our other friends and allies, how best we can acquire the assets needed for possible deep-sea search and recovery."

He did not elaborate on what equipment might be used.

A number of objects have been spotted by search teams since the Malaysia Airlines plane vanished with 239 people on board three weeks ago, but none of those retrieved so far has been from flight MH370.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak will travel to Perth on Wednesday to see the search operation first hand.

On Monday, Malaysia's Department of Civil Aviation confirmed the last words from the cockpit were a standard "Good night Malaysian three seven zero" - not "All right, good night" as had been previously stated.

An investigation is ongoing as to whether these words were spoken by the pilot or co-pilot - again, contrary to previous information released by the Malaysians which attributed the final words to the co-pilot.

Minutes after the communications were cut off on March 8, the plane turned back across Malaysia and headed toward the Indian Ocean carrying 227 passengers - most of them from China.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has rejected any suggestion the search would wind down soon.

Mr Abbott said crews were "well, well short" of any point where they would scale back their efforts.

"If this mystery is solvable, we will solve it," he said.