Chinese polar supply ship Xue Long has joined the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER in the southern Indian Ocean.
The search effort for the missing aircraft resumed on the morning of 26 March after inclement weather the day prior forced the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) to suspend its search for signs of debris, in the hope of locating the missing aircraft.
AMSA says that today it will coordinate searches in three areas about 2000km south-west of Perth, with 12 aircraft involved in the aerial search.
Military aircraft from Australia, New Zealand, the US, China and South Korea will depart from Perth throughout the day for the search zones, while five civil aircraft will also be involved.
Royal Australian Navy oiler ship HMAS Success has also returned to the region after yesterday moving away from the area due to the rough sea state.
Australian Defence Vessel Ocean Shield is enroute to Perth where it will be fitted with specialist equipment from the US Navy designed to pick up sonar pings from the aircraft’s flight data and cockpit voice recorders.
At a 25 March briefing, Malaysia’s acting transport minister Hishammuddin Hussein explained that the UK’s Air Accident Investigation Board and satellite company Inmarsat used Doppler analysis to rule out the previous ‘northern corridor’ and concluded that the 777 finished its flight over the Indian Ocean.
While the last complete log-in ‘hanshake’ from the aircraft’s systems was received at 8:11 Kuala Lumpur time on 8 March, there was an incomplete handshake eight minutes later. Inmarsat and the AAIB are understood to be investigating that ping in an attempt to get a better picture of the last known location of the aircraft.
The 777 went missing on the early hours of 8 March while operating flight MH370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.