|Follow us on:|
India would be rejoining the hunt for the missing Malaysian jetliner as the search area was expanded across a vast arc of land and ocean, officials said Sunday.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak spoke to his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh on Sunday to ask for help in the extended search.
Razak called Singh to seek “technical assistance in corroborating possible pathways ?MH370 may have taken,” said Indian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin.
India had earlier put its search operations, which included five warships and six surveillance aircraft, on hold.
“We are contacting additional countries who may be able to contribute specific assets. These assets are particularly needed to cover the vast areas of the southern search corridor,” said Malaysia’s acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein.
Malaysia has also asked for additional satellite data from China and the US.
Razak had earlier on Saturday held a press conference in which he said someone on board deliberately flew the aircraft perhaps thousands of miles off course. Investigators believe it was diverted by someone who knew how to switch off its communications and tracking systems.
The new search areas announced Saturday encompass a northern corridor stretching approximately from the border of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to northern Thailand, as well as a southern one from Indonesia to the southern Indian Ocean.
Probe authorities are now analyzing the backgrounds of the passengers and crew with the help of international intelligence agencies.
Earlier on Sunday, Malaysian Airlines said the plane’s pilot and co-pilot did not request to fly together, dismissing speculations of a pre-planned hijack attempt by the two people.
In Yangon, official sources said three Myanmar naval vessels started search and rescue operations within Myanmar waters.
In cooperation with Indian and Malaysian navies, the three vessels are carrying out the search in Myanmar’s exclusive economic zone in the Gulf of Mottama and the Bay of Bengal.
Flight MH370 went missing early last Saturday morning with 239 people on board en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, sparking a massive search involving more than a dozen nations.