Objects recovered not from MH370
SEARCHERS for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 said objects retrieved from the Indian Ocean are rubbish, with no evidence that they are related to the missing plane as the hunt for the jetliner enters its fourth week.
The objects recovered were "fishing equipment and flotsam", Ms Andrea Hayward-Maher, a spokesman for the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, said yesterday. It was the first time that material had been picked up.
Search activities yesterday involved eight ships and 10 aircraft in the revised zone, the Australian agency said in an update.
An Australian navy ship, the Ocean Shield, was fitted with a sophisticated US black-box locator and an underwater drone yesterday, and is expected to leave port and join the search later in the day.
"Our primary focus at the moment is to use the aircraft to identify wreckage and have the ships move in and pick the wreckage out of the water," Commodore Peter Leavy, who is coordinating the Australian military's search contribution, told reporters. "This is a critical step."
Eight aircraft sighted multiple items yesterday in a search area that covered about 252,000 sq km. The new search zone is 1,100km to the north-east of the previous area, off Australia's west coast.
White, red and orange "suspicious objects" had been seen as the Chinese ship Jinggangshan, carrying two helicopters, joined the Haixun 01 in the search area, the official Xinhua news agency said.
Examinations of the home flight simulator of the jet's captain, Mr Zaharie Ahmad Shah, have not found anything sinister, Malaysia's Acting Transport Minister, Mr Hishammuddin Hussein, said on Saturday.
The US Central Intelligence Agency, Britain's MI6 and Chinese intelligence agencies are helping with the investigation, he said.
The Malaysian government has come under strong criticism from China, home to more than 150 of the passengers, where relatives of the missing have accused the government of "delays and deception".
Thirty-nine family members of 18 passengers arrived yesterday in Malaysia seeking answers, said the airline's commercial director, Mr Hugh Dunleavy.
At a hotel on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, relatives wearing white T-shirts reading "Pray for MH370" displayed banners reading: "Tell us the truth. Give us our relatives back."
Flight MH370 with 239 people on board inexplicably vanished en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8 in one of the greatest mysteries in aviation history.
AFP, BLOOMBERG, REUTERS