Perth/Kuala Lumpur, April 2:
No sightings were reported at the conclusion of Wednesday’s search operation in the southern Indian Ocean for the “lost” Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 even as a senior Malaysian official said that all passengers on board the jet have been “cleared” in a criminal investigation that is being conducted.
On Wednesday, 10 aircraft and nine ships searched an area of about 237,000 sq km, about 1,500 km northwest of Perth, Australia’s Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) said in its latest update.
“There were no sightings reported of any objects related to the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370,” it stated.
“Weather in the search area was fair, with visibility of approximately 10 kilometres.”
The JACC also said that the HMS Tireless, a Trafalgar Class submarine of the British Royal Navy, has arrived in the southern Indian Ocean to assist with the search.
“With her advanced underwater search capability, HMS Tireless will be a valuable contribution to the search for the missing plane,” it added.
Additionally, HMS Echo, a coastal survey ship also of the British Royal Navy, is in the search area to assist in efforts to locate the transponder on the black box.
It would also play an important role in the search for debris on the ocean surface and its advanced environmental assessment capability will help to optimise search operations, according to the JACC.
“The Australian Transport Safety Bureau continues to refine the area where the aircraft entered the water based on continuing ground-breaking and multi-disciplinary technical analysis of satellite communication and aircraft performance, passed from the international air crash investigative team comprising analysts from Malaysia, the United States, the UK, China and Australia,” the JACC update concluded.
Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 vanished mysteriously about an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur shortly after midnight March 8.
The Boeing 777-200ER was scheduled to land in Beijing the same day. The 227 passengers on board included five Indians, 154 Chinese and 38 Malaysians.
In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysian Inspector General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar said Wednesday that all the passengers on board the missing MH370 flight had been “cleared” of hijacking, sabotage or having psychological or personal problems by the police.
A criminal investigation into the incident has freed the 227 passengers from the four elements, he said, according to Xinhua which cited Bernama news agency.
“They have been cleared of the four (elements). It (is) according to our own procedure (investigation),” Khalid said after officiating a seminar for the police.
He said the cabin crew, including the pilot and the co-pilot, are still being investigated in these four areas.
Khalid said the police have so far recorded statements from over 170 individuals on the incident, adding that more statements would be recorded.
The police would not release any findings of the investigation in case it would jeopardise the ongoing probe, he added.