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Wednesday 18 September 2019

Chinese ship pulls out of MH370 search, leaving single vessel

The search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has been scaled back (Ministry of Defence/PA)
The search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has been scaled back (Ministry of Defence/PA)

The seabed search for the missing Malaysian airliner has been left to a single ship, with a Chinese vessel heading home to Shanghai, officials said.

Dutch survey ship Fugro Equator will finish the search of the southern Indian Ocean for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 after resupplying at the south-west Australian port of Fremantle, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, which co-ordinates the search, said in a statement.

Chinese ship Dong Hai Jiu 101 finished searching the 46,000 square mile expanse last weekend and was heading back to Fremantle to drop off equipment before returning to its home port, the statement said.

The Chinese ship in February joined three search vessels operated by Dutch underwater survey company Fugro in the hunt for the Boeing 777 that authorities say crashed with 239 people aboard far off the south-west coast of Australia on March 8 2014.

Fugro Equator is expected to finish the search by February, the statement said. The ship is using a highly manoeuvrable drone known as an autonomous underwater vehicle to get sonar images of difficult terrain.

A group of victims' relatives travelled to the island nation of Madagascar, off the south-east coast of Africa, and this week offered locals possible financial rewards to search for debris from the plane.

A Malaysian official investigating the disappearance visited Madagascar's capital, Antananarivo, to pick up debris that has already been found and will be analysed to see if it came from the aircraft.

Confirmation that the plane crashed came last year when a wing part washed ashore on Reunion Island in the western Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar. Authorities have offered no explanation for why the plane flew off course during a flight from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing.


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