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Aviation experts meet to plan next stage of MH370 search

Canberra, May 7, 2014, (PTI): 10:30 IST
Australia's Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss on Monday chaired a meeting with Malaysian Minister of Defence and Acting Minister of Transport Hishamuddin Hussein and Chinese Minister of Transport Yang Chuantang on the status of the search for Flight MH370 and future plans. AP photo
Aviation experts today met here to hammer out the details of the next stage of the hunt for the crashed Malaysian jet, nearly two months after the plane vanished mysteriously with 239 people on board.

The expert panel has been tasked with reviewing data as part of the new phase in the search for the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200.

The panel has to identify specific equipment needs as the search continues on the seabed, which will also involve mapping previously uncharted parts.

Today's meeting was announced after the first tripartite meeting held between Australia, Malaysia and China.

Australia's Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss on Monday chaired a meeting with Malaysian Minister of Defence and Acting Minister of Transport Hishamuddin Hussein and Chinese Minister of Transport Yang Chuantang on the status of the search for Flight MH370 and future plans.

In the wake of the extensive surface search, the ministers confirmed that the search will be a continuous effort with the operation entering a new phase that will now be focused on intensifying the search of the ocean floor over a larger area.

A communique issued by Joint Agency Coordinating Centre (JACC) said these activities would include analysis of all available data to refine the best search area, acquisition of bathymetric analysis with capability to survey the search area and acquisition of sub-surface search assets to scan the entire agreed search area.

During the meeting it was also reiterated that Australia will continue to assist Malaysia in search efforts.

"Steps are currently being undertaken by Australia and Malaysia to conclude a more comprehensive agreement that would clearly define the responsibilities of both parties for aspects of the search and recovery task and in particular financial responsibilities for any contracting of commercial search and recovery capabilities by the parties," the statement said.

Malaysia has established an International Investigation Team which includes representatives from Australia and China to evaluate, investigate and determine the actual cause of the incident.

The Beijing-bound plane - carrying 239 people, including five Indians, had mysteriously vanished on March 8 after taking off from Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysia believes the flight was deliberately diverted by someone on board and that satellite data indicates it crashed in the Indian Ocean, west of the Australian city of Perth.

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