|The seaplane's pilots discuss before departing from Phu Quoc. — Photo Duc Dong
HCM CITY — Vietnam's Defence Ministry has deployed 17 aircraft and 35 ships of various types from the Air and Air Defence Force, the Navy, the Maritime Police and the Border Guard to the sites where oil slicks without origin were located to scour for a Malaysian passenger jet carrying 239 people that went missing on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8.
The information was reported by Vice Chief of the General Staff of the Vietnam People's Army Lieut. Gen. Vu Van Tuan during his March 9 morning working session with Colonel Mislanbin Anuar, Defence Charge' Affaires of Malaysia and Colonel Liow Sin Hwa, Defence Charge' Affairs of Singapore, in Vietnam.
The event saw the presence of Deputy Minister of Transport Pham Quy Tieu and foreign correspondents in Vietnam.
According to Vietnam Maritime Search and Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC), a Malaysian Airlines passenger Boeing 777-200 left Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 16:42 UTC on March 7 (23:42 Vietnam time).
At 17:21 UTC (00:21 on March 8 Vietnam time), the plane lost contact with the Subang Air Traffic Control at 06 o 56'N – 103 o 35'E over Malaysian waters, 120 nautical miles southwest of Vietnam's Ca Mau cape and 25 nautical miles south of the Vietnam-Malaysia overlapping sea borderline.
On board were 227 passengers and 12 crew members from 13 countries, including 158 Chinese people.
Tuan also reported that besides aircraft AN-26, the search and rescue forces were reinforced by patrol planes CASA 212, seaplane DHC6, marine search vessel equipped with 3-D ray scanning device together with a diver team of the Navy.
|The Malaysian passenger jet went missing on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing early March 8. — Photo AFP
In the meantime, the General Staff is processing procedures for two Chinese naval ships to carry out search operation in the southern waters of Phu Quoc island as requested by the US and Chinese sides.
Foreign correspondents, especially those from China, Malaysia and Singapore, were allowed to board Vietnamese vehicles bound to the area where the oil leaks were spotted to cover the Vietnamese forces' search efforts.
Deputy Minister Tieu, for his part, reported a front commanding office serving the search operation was set up on Phu Quoc island.
He confirmed Vietnam's readiness to work together with search and rescue forces of six other countries taking part in the operation to work out optimal solutions to the search for the missing Malaysian jet.
Later on March 9, the Vietnamese search forces are scheduled to be joined by six planes and six ships from Malaysia; one plane and three ships from the Philippines, two planes and three ships from Singapore, two aircraft and 14 vessels from China and one plane and two ships of the US Navy. — VNA/VNS