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Malaysia to intensify search for MH370

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A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777

Malaysia’s defense minister says his country plans to deploy more equipment to the southern Indian Ocean to join the search for an airliner which went missing around four months ago.

Hishammuddin Hussein said on Sunday that a Malaysian navy ship equipped with a multi-beam echo sounder, which is a device to map the ocean floor, would set sail on August 4 for the deep-sea search zone far off Western Australia.

He added that state energy firm Petronas, along with Deftech and Phoenix International, would send a towed device called a synthetic aperture sonar to examine the ocean floor.

Shipbuilder Boustead Heavy Industries and iXBlue Australia would also dispatch a deep towed side scan sonar with a remotely operated vehicle to the area.

“Instructions for immediate mobilization have been given and the assets are expected to reach the search area in mid-August 2014,” Hishammuddin noted.

Flight MH370 with 239 passengers and crew lost contact on March 8, less than an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur on a scheduled flight to Beijing.

The plane is believed to have veered off course and, based on satellite data analysis, to have crashed in the southern Indian Ocean. However, a widespread search led by Australia has so far failed to find any sign of debris.

In June, Australian authorities said the search would shift further south based on a review of the satellite data. They added that the Boeing 777 was almost certainly on autopilot when it ran out of fuel and crashed.

The underwater hunt will begin in the new area, covering up to 60,000 square kilometers (23,166 sq miles) in the southern Indian Ocean, in August.


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