KUALA LUMPUR, March 31 — Five items retrieved by searchers off the west coast of Australia were not from Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein revealed today.
The information was the latest disappointment in the international hunt for the missing Boeing 777-200ER and the 239 on board that has been characterised by an abundance of sightings but a complete lack of physical evidence.
“On Saturday, five objects were retrieved by HMAS Success and the Haixun. However, it was found that none of these objects were related to MH370.
“On Sunday, an Australian P3 Orion made visual sightings of seven potential objects. A Korean P3 Orion also made visuals of three potential objects,” he told a press conference at the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC).
The defence and acting transport minister added that the Chinese ship Haixun was tasked today with retrieving these potential objects.
He also added that nine military and one civilian aircraft scoured the search area today, now spanning a total of 254,000 square kilometres.
The planes were from Malaysia, China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and Korea.
Eleven ships were also deployed to the search area: eight from China and three from Australia.
Meanwhile, a Malaysian ship, the KD Lekiu, is expected to arrive in the search area on Thursday.
The ADV Ocean Shield — fitted with the towed pinger locator and a Bluefin 21 autonomous underwater vehicle — is also due to arrive in the search area on the same day.
So far, no debris or any evidence of the 63-metre-long and 250-tonne passenger jet and the people on board has been found.
The search for the plane that disappeared on March 8 while bound for Beijing has now converged on a remote location in the southern Indian Ocean west of Perth, after Malaysia announced on March 24 that satellite data showed the flight “ended somewhere” in the waters there.
The airline had told families of the plane’s passengers and crew that it “assumed beyond reasonable doubt” that the plane was lost with no survivors.