Kuala Lumpur, May 2 (PTI): Top officials from Malaysia, Australia and China will meet in Canberra next week to decide future course of action in the frustrating search for missing Malaysia Airlines plane, authorities said here today.
Australian search coordinator Air Chief Marshal (retd.) Angus Houston noted that the search will take at least 8-12 months but said they were totally committed to find the plane that went missing with 239 people onboard on March 8.
“We need to continue to search, we owe it to the families,” Houston, who is currently visiting Malaysia, told reporters here.
The proposed meeting in Canderaa follows a decision this week to scale back the costly search operation, including ending the aerial search for surface wreckage, in the southern Indian Ocean that has so far turned up no evidence that the Boeing 777 plane crashed.
“That’s a very important meeting because it will formalise the way ahead to ensure that this search continues with urgency and doesn’t stop at any stage,” said Houston.
A robotic mini-submarine is continuing to scan the Indian Ocean floor with still no sign of wreckage.
Malaysia’s Acting Transport Minister Hishamuddin Hussein said he was confident that the aircraft will be found.
“I believe we will find MH370 sooner or later,” he said.
The Beijing-bound Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 – carrying 239 people, including five Indians, an Indo-Canadian and 154 Chinese nationals – had mysteriously vanished on March 8 after taking off from Kuala Lumpur.
The mystery of the missing plane continued to baffle aviation and security authorities who have so far not succeeded in tracking the aircraft despite deploying hi-tech radar and other gadgets.
Hishammuddin said Malaysia remains focused on finding the missing plane and more experts were on board the search team to find flight MH370.
He said he will travel to Canberra for the meeting on Monday.
Meanwhile, Malaysian?authorities yesterday released the plane’s full cargo manifest, saying the aircraft was carrying 4.566 tonnes of mangosteens, a fruit, besides 200 pieces of lithium ion batteries weighing about 2.453 tonnes.
The plane’s full cargo manifest was released as part of a preliminary report on the jetliner.
The air waybill for the mangosteens, which was being sent to Beijing by Poh Seng Kian, had a Johor state address.
Investigators had been looking into the large amount of mangosteen export a few weeks back.
Last week Malaysia’s opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim alleged there was “concealing and cover up” over the missing MH370.
“The Thais and Malaysians laugh about it because we know this is not the mangosteen season and you cannot get four tonnes off-season easily,” he had said.