Man on a mission: Vietnamese Air Force Deputy Commander General Do Minh Tuan returning from a search flight over southern waters off the Vietnamese island of Phu Quoc. - AFP
HANOI: Massive search for the missing Malaysian plane will be expanded to scour mountainous and forest areas, Vietnam News Agency (VNA) quoted Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Vietnam People’s Army, Lt Gen Vo Van Tuan as saying.
”We have informed units and localities on land, including Military Zones 5, 7 and 9, and localities in the western, southeastern and central regions to deploy forces to seek the plane,” Tuan said yesterday while instructing the operation.
Units managing border areas were requested to increase coordination with Lao and Cambodian forces in searching border areas in their territories, he said.
Two hotlines were also set up at the command office in Phu Quoc Island, southern Kien Giang province to promptly provide information relating to the search.
Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Transport Pham Quy Tieu told a press conference on Phu Quoc the same day that Vietnamese forces will continue the operation on a wider area.
Accordingly, the search will be expanded to the east of the initially suspected area, 277km from Tho Chu Island in Kien Giang province, and the south and west of Con Dao Island, 185km off the coast of the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau.
Tieu urged the deployment of aircraft and naval ships for the operation, affirming that Vietnam will do its utmost to seek the missing airplane.
He also asked the Kien Giang province to continue to urge local fishermen for support and be prepared if there were any objects that appear to be from the plane are found.
Meanwhile, Phu Quoc Inter-national Airport was requested to be prepared for rescue work, if necessary.
The naval ship HQ888 has examined waters off southern Ba Ria Vung Tau province without finding any fragments spotted by a Hong Kong commercial aircraft on Monday, according to the National Committee for Search and Rescue.
The Boeing 777-200 plane operated by Malaysia Airlines left Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) for Beijing at 12.41am on Saturday, and lost contact with authorities at around 1.30am the same day.
The aircraft was carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew members. — Bernama