Written by Staff Writer
16 Mar, 2014 | 8:15 pm
The search has been widened for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, with Australia to begin scouring areas in the southern Indian Ocean following a request from the Malaysian government, the Australian military said on Sunday.
Australia’s Chief Defense Force chief General David Hurley said Malaysian authorities coordinating the search had diverted an Australian AP-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft to begin searching for the vanished airliner to the north and west of the Cocos Islands, an atoll midway between Australia’s west coast and Sri Lanka.
The island is an Australian territory and has an airstrip used by military patrol aircraft to push deep into the Indian Ocean region.
“This aircraft is expected to recover to the Cocos Islands overnight and launch from that location on Monday to maximize mission time in the expanded search area,” Gen Hurley said in a statement. A second Australian air force Orion would continue to search west of Malaysia, where efforts are concentrated.
Up to now, Australia has sent two aircraft to assist in the search for MH370, on which six Australian were travelling. Prime Minister Tony Abbott said earlier Sunday that he was willing to offer additional assistance, but was waiting for a request from the Malaysian government before diverting extra aircraft or ships to help in the hunt for the missing airliner.
The new search area is broadly along one of two tracks identified by Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak as possible paths taken by the Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777-200 after what he said was undoubtedly a mid-air hijacking. One track went northwest to Central Asia, while the other went southwest into the Indian Ocean.
The Wall Street Journal
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