Former defence chief takes charge as MH370 search continues

Singapore
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Australia's government has appointed retired defence chief ACM Angus Houston to coordinate the ongoing search for the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER that went missing on 8 March.

Houston will lead a new Joint Agency Coordination Centre in Perth that will further assist the search being conducted by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), while also providing a central point of contact for the families of the missing passengers and crew.

The search of the Indian Ocean has yet to positively identify any objects that may be related to the missing aircraft.

On 30 March, AMSA confirmed that a number of objects sighted by aircraft in the search area had retrieved by the HMAS Success and Chinese vessel Haixun 01 were described as fishing equipment and other flotsam.

The search resumed at 09:00 Canberra time on 31 March, with 10 aircraft and 10 ships scouring an area 2,060km due west of Perth. AMSA adds that it is expected that low cloud and rain are expected in the area throughout the day.

A mixture of P-3 Orions, C-130 Herclues, a Japanese Coast Guard Gulfstream jet and a Chinese Ilyushin IL-76 are scheduled to depart throughout the day for the search zone. One civil jet is also being used as a communications relay aircraft.

The ships involved include frigate HMAS Toowoomba, which sailed from Perth on 29 March, as well as seven Chinese ships and a merchant vessel.

Australian Defence Vessel Ocean Shield will depart from Perth on 31 March to join the search, carrying with it an autonomous underwater vehicle and a towed pinger locator that may assist in locating the missing aircraft’s flight data and cockpit voice recorders.

Flight MH370 went missing on the morning of 8 March shortly after taking off from Kuala Lumpur bound for Beijing, and subsequently ended its flight over the southern Indian Ocean. There were 239 passengers and crew on board.