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MH370: Search area to be expended, says Liow

SEPANG: The search area for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 will be expanded to another 60,000 square kilometres in the southern Indian Ocean, says Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai (pic).

He denied news reports that the search will not be expanded outside the current area.

“We decided in a tripartite meeting between Australia, Malaysia and China that if we cannot find anything in the current search area of 60,000 square kilometres, we will expand it to another 60,000 square kilometres.

“Now, we are reaching the end of our search in the current 60,000 square kilometres,” Liow told reporters after launching the Malindo Air’s new in-flight services and magazine at the KLIA2 here on Thursday.

In April, Australia, Malaysia and China had agreed to double the search area to 120,000 square kilometres and extend the effort to another year if the plane is not found.

However, Australian officials were quoted in reports on Wednesday saying that the hunt for MH370 will not be expanded beyond its current area without new leads.

The Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) had said in an AFP report it would not expand the search without new data.

Liow said the report was not true and there may have been some “miscommunication”.

He said the search would have to go through 120,000 square kilometres of area in the southern Indian Ocean first.

“If we still can’t find the plane by then, we would have to go back to the experts and decide on the next course of action,” he said.

Liow, however, said there were no new leads so far in the hunt to find the missing MH370.-thestar

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