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MH370 Tripartite Meeting In KL Thursday, Says Liow

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KUALA LUMPUR: The Ministerial Tripartite Meeting between Malaysia, Australia and China to review search efforts for the missing MH370 will be held here on Thursday.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai (pic) said Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss and China’s Transport Minister Yang Chuantang would be attending the meeting, being held as part of the ongoing search effort for Flight MH370 that went missing on March 8 last year.

“The Ministerial Tripartite Meeting will see our three nations reviewing the search efforts to date and collectively deciding on the next step based on advice by the experts from the search strategy working group (SSWG),” he said in a statement on Monday.

Liow, who would be representing Malaysia in the meeting, said after more than a year, no effort had been spared in the search for the missing jetliner.

He said that the SSWG team, led by the Joint Agency Coordination Centre and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau comprising experts from various internationals from China, United Kingdom, United States as well as Malaysia, had collaborated to independently review and refine all available data which clearly indicated a highly probable search area close to a long but narrow arc of the Southern Indian Ocean.

“What is crucial to note is that the handshake from the Satcom data they analysed was specific to MH370,” he said.

Flight MH370 dropped off radar screens on March 8 last year as it flew from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 227 passengers and 12 crew on board.

The Boeing 777 aircraft has yet to be found, even after an exhaustive search in the southern Indian Ocean where it is believed to have gone down after veering off course.

On Jan 29 this year, the government declared the disappearance of the flight an accident and that all passengers and crew on board were presumed to have lost their lives.

Meanwhile, Liow said the search team had covered over 37,000 square kilometres or 61% of the 60,000 square kilometres priority area to date.

“This is a remote location with adverse sea and weather conditions and known depths of more than 6,000 metres. Waves have been known to reach heights of 15 to 18 metres.

“Hence, by no small measure, it has been a challenge for the search and recovery team,” he said.

In the statement, Liow reiterated the three nations’ commitment to complete the underwater search of the priority zone.

“Malaysia has committed more than AUD60mil (RM168mil) for the search and recovery along with the Australian government, which clearly demonstrates our commitment to finding MH370,” he said.

He added that the unprecedented level of support, collaboration and cooperation given by the governments of Australia and China had been instrumental during the trying time for Malaysians. – Bernama

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