With a week gone without a trace of the missing Malaysia Airlines plane, the search for flight MH370 has expanded to include the Bay of Bengal waters close to the Chennai coastline, said the Defence Ministry on Friday.
“As there was no headway so far, a new search area of 9,000 sq km, about 900 km west of Port Blair, which is along the Chennai coastline in the Bay of Bengal, has been indicated by the Malaysian authorities to us. This (search) will be undertaken by the resources of (Visakhapatnam-based) Eastern Naval Command,” said Defence Ministry officials.
The new search area is said to be 300 km off the Chennai coastline. Coast Guard sources said two Dornier aircraft may be sent from Chennai and Visakhapatnam at first light on Saturday to cover the coastal area between the two cities and the outlying area in the Bay of Bengal.
Meanwhile, armed forces of the Andaman and Nicobar Joint Command (ANC) continued searching for the missing plane, coordinating its efforts with Naval and air forces of dozens of other nations.
“Two Naval ships have been searching for the jet in designated areas east of Great Nicobar Island. Two Dornier aircraft are undertaking searches north to south of Andaman and Nicobar Islands,” Col Harmeet Singh, Public Relations Officer of Andaman Nicobar Command told Express.
The Beijing-bound flight, with five Indians and one Indian-origin Canadian among 239 onboard, vanished from the radar within a few hours of taking off from Kuala Lumpur March 7.
The plane’s fate has vexed investigators and Malaysian authorities have dramatically expanded the scope of the search operations.
The hunt had initially focused on the South China Sea east of Malaysia. The searches, being carried out by 13 countries including India, have so far failed to trace the plane or its wreck.
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