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China demands MH370 satellite data from Malaysia

Beijing made its demand after Malaysia said that satellite data showed the missing plane MH370 had plunged in the Indian Ocean

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China has demanded that Malaysia hand over the satellite data which led to its judgment Monday that missing flight MH370 crashed at sea and that none on board survived, Agence France-Presse reported.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak told relatives Monday that the flight “ended in the southern Indian Ocean” after new analysis of satellite data on the airliner’s path placed its last position in remote waters off Australia’s west coast.

In a meeting late Monday, Deputy Foreign Minister Xie Hangsheng asked Malaysia’s Ambassador to China, Iskandar Bin Sarudin, to provide the “detailed evidence” that led to the conclusion, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

“We demand the Malaysian side to state the detailed evidence that leads them to this judgment as well as supply all the relevant information and evidence about the satellite data analysis,” Xie said, according to a statement on the ministry’s website.

“The search and rescue work cannot stop now, we demand the Malaysian side to continue to finish all the work including search and rescue,” Xie said.

Chinese maritime authorities said late Monday China would send more vessels to the southern Indian Ocean to search for wreckage, Xinhua news agency reported.

They add to the six Chinese vessels already dispatched to the search area to scour the seas for the missing plane.

Plane plunged in Indian Ocean

On Monday, Razak said MH370 jet came down in a remote corner in the Indian Ocean.

“It is therefore with deep sadness and regret that I must inform you that, according to this new data, flight MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean,” AFP quoted Razak as telling a press conference, citing new satellite information.

Razak said the information on the jet’s fate came from UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) and its last position was west of Perth.

If confirmed, the news would be a major breakthrough in the unprecedented two-week struggle to find out what happened to Flight 370, which disappeared shortly after takeoff from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 passengers and crew aboard.

He said Malaysia Airlines has informed the families of passengers of the plane’s fate.

Malaysia Airlines on Monday reportedly told relatives of people on board of the missing passenger jet that it believes the plane went down in the Indian Ocean with no survivors.

“Malaysia Airlines deeply regrets that we have to assume beyond any reasonable doubt that MH370 has been lost and that none of those on board survived,” it said in a text message to relatives, the BBC reported.

‘Suspicious objects’

Meanwhile, before Razak made the announcement, a Chinese plane spotted “suspicious objects” in the southern Indian Ocean while searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, the country’s official news agency said on Monday.

The objects spotted by aircrew were “white and square,” it added.

"The crew has reported the coordinates -- 95.1113 degrees east and 42.5453 south -- to the Australian command center as well as Chinese icebreaker Xuelong, which is en route to the sea area," Xinhua said.

The official Xinhua said a Chinese military plane had set off earlier on Monday in search for floating debris captured through satellite images. The Ilyushin-76 plane was launched from the Australian city of Perth.

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Malaysia’s MH370 disappeared off the radar 16 days ago, only an hour after takeoff from the city of Kuala Lumpur.

The flight was headed for Beijing, and two-thirds of the 230 passengers boarding the plane were from China.

Infographic: Search for Flight MH370
Infographic: Search for Flight MH370

Malaysia said Sunday it had received new satellite images from France showing floating objects in the main search area for MH370.

The images include "potential objects in the vicinity of the southern corridor," the Transport Ministry said in a statement.

It added the images had been passed on to Australian authorities who are coordinating the search for the plane, now focused on a remote stretch of ocean 2,500 kilometers southwest of Perth.

Infographic: MH370 flightpath
Infographic: MH370 flightpath

Indian Ocean

Meanwhile, one of the aircraft deployed in the hunt for the missing Malaysian jet spotted a wooden cargo pallet along with belts or straps have been spotted in the remote Indian Ocean, Australian officials said on Sunday.

In what was confirmed as the “first visual sighting in the search so far,” the objects were seen on Saturday by a civilian aircraft assisting in the search for MH370.

“Part of the description was a wooden pallet and a number of other items which were nondescript around it and some belts of some different colors around it as well, strapping belts of different lengths,” AMSA aircraft operations coordinator Mike Barton said, according to Agence France-Presse.

Emergency landing

It also emerged on Monday than a separate Malaysia Airlines flight, from Kuala Lumpur to Seoul, had made an emergency landing in Hong Kong after a generator failed.

Hong Kong's airport said firefighters were put on standby for the arrival of the Airbus A330-300, which landed without incident just before 3 a.m. on Monday.

Infographic: Malaysia plane makes emergency landing
Infographic: Malaysia plane makes emergency landing

Malaysia Airlines says in a statement that flight MH066 was diverted to the southern Chinese city after the main generator supplying normal electrical power failed. However, the jet's auxiliary power unit was able to continue supplying power.

The airline said the 271 passengers bound for Incheon International Airport near Seoul were put on flights with other carriers.

(With AFP and AP)