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China deploys 10 satellites for missing plane search

world Updated: Mar 10, 2014 22:14 IST
Missing Malaysia Airlines plane

As the mystery over a missing Malaysia Airlines plane deepens, China on Monday pressed 10 high- resolution satellites to scurry South China Sea to find leads that could help locate the flight with 239 people on board.

China's Xi'an Satellite Monitor and Control Center has launched an emergency response for the search and adjusted up to 10 high-resolution satellites to locate the missing plane which is presumed to have crashed on Saturday, the People's Liberation Army said.

Citing the Centre, the army said the centre purged the original commands of several satellites to offer full services in weather monitoring, communication and other aspects for the search, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

Read: Search continues, relatives' anguish deepens

The Boeing 777-200 Flight MH370 that went missing over the South China Sea en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur had 227 passengers on board, including 154 Chinese and five Indians, and 12 crew members.

As pressure mounted from the relatives of passengers, the Chinese government called on Malaysia to accelerate the search and dispatched a high-level team to Kuala Lumpur.

Relatives of victims from the missing Malaysian jet complete paperwork for their Chinese passports to be ready to travel to the crash site in Beijing. (AFP photo)

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"We hope Malaysia can fully understand China, especially the mood of the Chinese passengers' families and speed up investigation, search and rescue efforts," Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters.

"The missing plane belongs to the Malaysia Airlines, so it is reasonable that the Malaysian side takes the major responsibility of the search and rescue work," Qin said.

As there are more than 150 Chinese passengers on board, the Chinese government naturally takes a highly responsible attitude and has gone all-out to join in the process, he said.

Qin said the top priority remains search and rescue.

Timeline: Flight MH370 missing from radar

Naval vessels, coast guard, rescue ships and cargo ships dispatched by China are expected to arrive, or have arrived at the suspected waters.

Thirty four planes, 40 ships and teams from ten countries are involved in search operations that has been widened up to the Andaman Sea after radar data indicated the plane may have turned around to head back to Kuala Lumpur.

China's largest patrol vessel Haixun 31 (C) is seen at a port before leaving for search and rescue operations for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet in Hainan province. (Reuters photo)

Read: Probe into missing Malaysia jet looks at mid-air disintegration, Interpol suspects foul play
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China's Ministry of Public Security had sent a working group to Malaysia to investigate into two people using stolen passports to board on the plane, Qin said, "but we can not identify who are using the passports yet." About the likelihood of militants from Xinjiang carrying out sabotage of the plane, he confirmed that no Chinese citizens' passports were stolen, saying previous media reports were caused by the wrong passport numbers provided by the Malaysia Airlines.

A Chinese relative of passengers aboard a missing Malaysia Airlines plane cries while leaving a hotel room for relatives or friends of passengers aboard the missing airplane, in Beijing. (AP photo)

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