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Malaysia minister says search for 'survivors' to continue

AFP , Saturday 29 Mar 2014
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Views: 882

Malaysia's transport minister vowed Saturday to continue the search for "possible survivors" from a missing passenger plane, three weeks after it crashed in the remote Indian Ocean.

"No matter how remote the odds, we will pray, hope against hope, and continue to search for possible survivors," Hishammuddin Hussein told reporters during a condolence visit to relatives of Malaysian passengers and crew.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 vanished on March 8 after veering sharply off course during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

Prime Minister Najib Razak has said satellite data analysis shows the Boeing 777 must have come down thousands of miles away in the southern Indian Ocean with the loss of 239 passengers and crew.

But Hishammuddin, the public face of Malaysia during the crisis through his near-daily press conferences, has referred previously to what he called the possibility of survivors, however faint.

"I cannot give them (relatives) false hope," he said Saturday.

"The best we can do is pray and be sensitive to them, that as long as there is even a remote chance of a survivor, we will pray and do whatever it takes."

Ships and planes from several countries have been searching vast stretches of ocean west of Australia -- hundreds of miles from any land.

Satellites and aircraft have spotted numerous floating objects, but none has so far been confirmed to be wreckage from the plane.

Malaysia says the plane was deliberately diverted from its planned flight path, and investigations have focused on the captain.

Police seized a flight simulator he built at his home and agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation worked to recover data which had been deleted from its hard drive.

Hishammuddin, confirming earlier US reports, said "there is nothing sinister from the simulator but of course that will have to be confirmed by the chief of police.

"Because he and our police have been working closely with the FBI from day one."

He said the US Central Intelligence Agency, Chinese intelligence and Britain's MI6 were also involved in the investigation.

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