SEPANG: Several countries are offering their assistance in the search and rescue operations for Malaysia Airlines’ Beijing-bound plane which went missing, said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
The Prime Minister said that China and Vietnam had deployed vessels to scour the South China Sea while Singapore has offered the services of its Air Force aircraft to Malaysia.
Najib said that the United States’ navy aircraft has also offered to take part in the operations which concentrate mainly off Vietnam waters.
“At the same time, our military are also actively involved in the search and rescue operations for MH370,” he told a media conference.
The Royal Malaysian Air Force has despatched 15 aircraft while the navy had sent out six vessels to conduct search in the Malaysian waters, he said.
Najib said no wreckage had been found so far and the rescue operations would continue for as long as it was necessary.
The Prime Minister, his deputy Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Defence and acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein and MCA president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai were earlier briefed by MAS and Department of Commercial Aviation on the situation.
Najib and Muhyiddin also met with family members of the flight passengers who were waiting anxiously at the KL International Airport.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the bereaved families. MAS has extended assistance to them, including providing emotional support and travelling arrangements,” he added.
Najib said the authorities would look at all possibilities as to how and why the plane had gone off radar.
“There are too many theories but we do not want to indulge in speculations. Our main focus now should be on the search and rescue efforts,” he said when asked if hijacking and terrorism could be reasons for the aircraft’s disappearance.
The Prime Minister said he had spoken to the Prime Minister of China, Li Keqiang, and had offered Malaysia’s condolences as 153 passengers on board the flight were Chinese nationals.
At Kajang, MCA has also expressed its concern for the passengers of MH370, with party president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai saying his thoughts were with the family of the passengers. He said some passengers on board the flight, that consisted of artists and calligraphers from China, had visited Wisma MCA in Kuala Lumpur on Friday.
“I was not around the office, but my officers managed to see them and had a cordial discussion about Malaysia and China artists groups.
“Unfortunately, they were in the plane that is missing now. We hope the airplane will be recovered as soon as possible.”
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had also called Najib to offer support.
Earlier in the day, Bernama reported that Najib had asked that “all possible measures be taken” to locate the aircraft.
“My thoughts and prayers are with the family members of Flight MH370,” Najib tweeted.
Flight MH370, carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew, went missing somewhere between Malaysian and Vietnamese airspace over the South China Sea at 2.40am.
The B777-200 aircraft had left Kuala Lumpur at 12.41am and was scheduled to land in Beijing at 6.30am. It lost contact with the Subang Air Traffic Control at 2.40am.