|A Vietnamese worker checks a device of the CASA-212 multitasking military transport aircraft equipped with modern technical devices meeting European standards for the operation. — Photo Quoc Thang
HCM CITY — Massive search for the missing Malaysian plane will be expanded to scour mountainous and forest areas, said Lieut. Gen. Vo Van Tuan, Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Vietnam People's Army.
"We have informed units and localities on land, including Military Zones 5, 7 and 9, and localities in the western, southeastern and central regions to deploy forces to seek the plane," Tuan said on March 11 while instructing the operation.
Units managing border areas were requested to increase coordination with Lao and Cambodian forces in searching border areas in their territories, he said.
Earlier, two hotlines were set up at the command office in Phu Quoc Island, southern Kien Giang province to promptly provide information relating to the search.
Deputy Minister of Transport Pham Quy Tieu told a press conference on Phu Quoc the same day that Vietnamese forces will continue the operation on a wider area.
Accordingly, the search will be expanded to the east of the initially suspected area, 277 kilometres from Tho Chu Island in Kien Giang province, and the south and west of Con Dao Island, 185 kilometres off the coast of the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau .
Tieu urged the deployment of aircraft and naval ships for the operation, affirming that Vietnam will do its utmost to seek the missing jet.
He also asked Kien Giang province to continue calling for support from local fishermen and stand ready for working if any objects that appear to be from the plane are found.
Phu Quoc International Airport was requested to prepare all necessary human and material conditions for the rescue if necessary.
The naval ship HQ888 has examined waters off southern Ba Ria Vung Tau province without finding any fragments spotted by a Hong Kong commercial aircraft on March 10, according to the National Committee for Search and Rescue.
At 11am on March 11, the VNRedsat-1 satellite passed over Tho Chu Island and captured images there for about an hour. The images will be then sent to the ground image processing centre late on the day.
In the morning of March 11, four aircraft took off to search for the Malaysian plane. Vietnam's air force will continue to conduct a number of flights to suspected sites during the day, said Colonel Tran Van Lam, deputy head of Air Division 370.
Also in the morning, General Pham Van Tra, former Minister of National Defence, joined in instructing search forces.
Meanwhile, China has deployed ten satellites aimed to provide reliable positioning signals for the search operation.
It also sent two naval vessels, Jinggangshan and Mianyang, to the target sea area and plans to deploy two more.
According to the US Navy, it has dispatched one more Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, USS Kidd, to the waters around the Malaysian jetliner's last known location, in order to join the USS Pinckney in the efforts.
Boeing said on March 10 that it will work as a technical consultant for the US National Transportation Safety Board's ongoing search mission in Southeast Asia.
Earlier, Executive Director of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) Lassina Zerbo said he has asked CTBTO experts to see if they detected an explosion at altitude of the missing plane.
At a press conference on March 10, the director said CTBTO uses "infrasonic sensors" to monitor the earth mainly for atmospheric nuclear explosions.
The Boeing 777-200 plane operated by Malaysia Airlines left Kuala Lumpur International Airport for Beijing at 00:41am on March 8, and lost contact with authorities at around 1:30am the same day.
The aircraft was carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew members. — VNA/VNS