Kuala Lumpur/New Delhi: India on Thursday deployed four warships to locate the Malaysia Airlines MH370 jetliner missing for six days even as Malaysia debunked false leads by Chinese satellite images of suspected debris in waters off Vietnam’s southern coast.
Joining the massive international search operations, India pressed into service six aircraft including its latest special surveillance P-8I plane and three helicopters under “Operation Searchlight”.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) has also deployed two of its latest C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft from Hindan air force station. Four warships have been dispatched from Andaman and Nicobar command including INS Kumbhir, INS Kesari, INS Saryu and INCS Kanaklata Barua from Navy and Coast Guard to the areas specified by the Malaysian government.
Malaysia and Vietnam dismissed Chinese satellite images, saying planes sent to search the area where the debris were suspected found nothing. “The Chinese satellite images were released by mistake,” Malaysia’s acting transport minister Hishamuddin Ahmed told a press conference in Kuala Lumpur.
He later said the Chinese embassy had notified the government that the images were released by mistake and did not show any debris from Boeing 777 Flight MH370. The minister said unless any debris was found “we cannot think we have moved forward in the probe”.
The Malaysian authorities also found no merit in US investigators suggestion that the flight MH370 with 239 people on board may have kept flying for four hours after its last radio contact on Saturday.
Ahmed said that reports that the flight MH370 flew beyond the last recorded transmission time of 01.07am (local time) on Saturday were totally “incorrect”.
Rolls-Royce and The Boeing Co. are cooperating and they did not receive any transmission after 01.07am (local time) on Saturday, he said. “That was the last transmission,” Ahmed said.
China’s State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence (SASTIND) said in Beijing that Chinese satellites found three floating objects at a suspected site of the missing plane but it was not sure whether it was the debris of the aircraft.
The objects were observed in waters between Malaysia and Vietnam.
Ahmed admitted that with each passing day the search became more difficult. He said the main search efforts were in South China Sea and noted, “We may have to include other countries as well if we have to expand our search later.”