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MH370: Floating debris under scrutiny

 | March 12, 2014

Search and rescue teams are now looking at all floating material in the Andaman Sea, the Straits of Malacca and the South China Sea for clues to finding flight MH370.

XinHuaPETALING JAYA: Five days after the disappearance of flight MH370, search and rescue teams from the over 10 nations are now combing the seas of Southeast Asia looking for clues of the ill-fated flight, carrying 239 people.

A police report has been lodged by villagers in Marang, Terengganu alleging that they heard a loud explosion early Saturday morning when the jetliner lost contact with the control tower on its way to Beijing from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

A group of fishermen meanwhile reported finding a life raft, possibly from the plane, in Port Dickson yesterday afternoon.

And the latest, Chinese search and rescue teams claim they have salvaged floating objects possibly from the missing plane, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

“Members of the Chinese emergency response team on “South China Sea Rescue 101” salvage floating object at the possible crash site of missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

“Five Chinese rescue vessels, including “South China Sea Rescue 115” and “South China Sea Rescue 101″, have all arrived at the possible crash site as of Tuesday and immediately started the search mission for missing flight MH370,” the Agency said in its caption of a photograph released at noon today.

Closer to home, the Terengganu police confirmed today having received a report on a loud explosion heard by villagers in Marang on Saturday morning, the day the Beijing-bound Malaysia Airlines (MAS) MH370 went missing.

Terengganu police chief Jamshah Mustapa said the report had been forwarded to the Bukit Aman police yesterday for further action.

He said from the report that was lodged, the eight men only heard the explosion, but did not see any object.

“So far, we only received one report at the Marang district police station yesterday morning,” he told reporters after the commissioning of student leaders here today.

Yesterday, the eight men, who are residents at Kampung Pantai Seberang Marang, lodged a report on a loud sound they heard north-east of Pulau Kapas, believing it was linked to the disappearance of the MAS aircraft on that day.

They were seated on a bench about 400m from the Marang beach well past midnight when they heard the noise, which sounded like the fan of a jet engine.

In Dungun, Terengganu, fishermen with fishing boats equipped with sonar system are doing their part in the search for the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 that went missing since Saturday, Terengganu Fishermen Association chairman Mohd Abdul Ghani said.

He said the areas covered by the fishermen were along the Terengganu waters.

“We are using the sonar system to locate the aircraft which is alleged to have crashed into the sea,” he told Bernama here today.

Mohd, who is also Dungun Fishermen Association chairman, also expressed sympathy to the family of passengers and crew on board of the missing aircraft, hoping that it would be found soon.

MAS Flight MH370, carrying 227 passengers, including two infants, and 12 crew, went missing en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing about an hour after taking off from the KL International Airport at 12.41am Saturday. It should have landed in Beijing at 6.30am the same day.

The aircraft was carrying passengers of 14 nationalities, with most of them from China and Malaysia.

Meanwhile, reports are also emerging that fishermen off the coast of Port Dickson had found a life raft resembling that of a plane’s life raft about 10 nautical miles off the coast, yesterday.

The fishermen had reported the find to the Malaysian Maritime Agency, which dispatched its patrol boats to salvage the raft.

It has been reported that the word “boarding” was printed on the raft, leading the fishermen to believe that the raft came from the ill-fated MH370.

The Maritime agency is investigating the find. It is learnt that the usual press conference which was to be held at 3pm today had been postponed to 4.30pm so that more details on this finding can be shared with the media.

The total area needed to be covered by the search teams is 12,500 sq nautical miles.

Irresponsible online users

In another development, Deputy Communications and Multimedia Jalaini Johari told the Dewan Rakyat today that some irresponsible internet users were hurting the feeling of the passengers’ relatives by spreading unverified information on the missing plane.

He said the authorities would take action against those who circulated rumours on the plane online.

“It will hurt the feeling of the family members. I would like to remind all internet users, Facebook, twitter or Whatsapp to be careful and ethical in posting information,” he said.

The Hulu Terengganu MP said the authorities had received five complaints on false information on MH370.

He said action could be taken under the Communication and Multimedia Act 1998, Sedition Act 1948 and Defamation Act 1957.


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