Free Press Journal

India intensifies search for missing Malaysian plane


New Delhi: India has further intensified efforts to find the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 with additional naval and air assets being deployed for searching an expanded area in central and east Bay of Bengal, the defence ministry said Saturday.

So far, no sighting or detection has been reported by any of the units.

The third day of the Indian search efforts saw the deployment of two recently acquired P8I Long-Range Maritime Patrol aircraft of the Indian Navy and one C-130 J aircraft of the Indian Air Force in the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea, ministry officials said.

The Short-Range Maritime Reconnaissance Dornier aircraft of the Indian Navy and the Coast Guard have also been deployed for the ongoing search operations.

“Six ships (three each from the navy and the coast guard) have been deployed, with the Indian naval ships Kesari and Saryu continuing their search as part of the international group in the Andaman Sea,” an official statement said.

“In addition to coast guard ships Kanaklata Barua and Bhikaji Cama in the Andaman Sea, CGS Sagar has also been tasked for undertaking the search in the Malacca Straits,” it said.

While aircraft assets including the P8I aircraft are already searching in the Bay of Bengal, additional ships and aircraft are on standby for augmenting the search.

India has been coordinating with the operation centres of the Royal Malaysian Navy and the Royal Malaysian Air Force in the ongoing multinational efforts involving over 14 countries, 45 ships and 60 aircraft.

The Indian Navy has coordinated the search over an area spanning more than 2,50,000 sq km in the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal so far and search operations are expected to continue.

Malaysia Airlines flight with 239 passengers and crew onboard vanished without a trace after taking off from Kuala Lumpur March 8