Malaysia Airlines flight search: Australian PM to visit Perth today

Last Updated: Monday, March 31, 2014 - 07:49

Melbourne: Prime Minister Tony Abbott is set to arrive at Perth`s Pearce Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) base Monday morning, even as search operations continue to find the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

Abbott, according to media reports here, said retired Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, country`s former defence force chief, will lead a new joint agency co-ordination centre (JACC) in Perth to find the debris of the stricken MH370.
"There is no one better placed than Angus to co-ordinate and liaise given the quite significant number of countries that all have a stake in this search," he said.

Yesterday, authorities said the first debris picked up by ships combing the updated search area about 1850km west of Perth was not from the stricken MH370.
"It appeared to be fishing equipment and just rubbish on the (ocean`s) surface," a spokesman for the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said.

Australian Navy Commodore Peter Leavy said the focus was still to find debris and confirm it was from the aircraft.

"The search area remains vast and this equipment can only be effectively employed when there is a high probability that the final location of Flight MH370 is better known," he said.

An Australian Navy vessel is also due to leave from Perth with equipment able to detect signals from the black box recorder on the missing plane, media reports said.

An Australian Orion aircraft has also identified several orange objects in the southern Indian Ocean in what is being described as "the most promising leads."

Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said yesterday`s weather in the area was "reasonable" with reported visibility greater than 10 kilometres, and Flight Lieutenant Russell Adams says he is hopeful of finding more objects if favourable conditions continue.

"For my crew and from our perspective, this was the most visibility we [have] had in the water of any objects ... And gave us the most promising leads," he said adding the objects will now be assessed to determine whether they are related to the missing airliner.

"I must stress that we can`t confirm the origin of these objects ... The details of these, in association with a GPS buoy have been passed on to our rescue coordination centre," he said.

PTI

First Published: Monday, March 31, 2014 - 07:49

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