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UPDATED: March 14, 2014 Web Exclusive
An All-Out Effort
China intensifies strength to help find the missing plane in Southeast Asia
By Chen Ran

HOPE: Students from Hailiang International School in Zhuji City, east China's Zhejiang Province, light candles to pray for those missing who were aboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 on March 10 (XINHUA)

MAS issued five media statements on March 8 so as to keep the public informed. In addition, the airlines' response team, comprising of 94 caregivers and volunteers, arrived in Beijing the same day to provide emotional support and assistance to family members of the missing passengers.

Joint efforts

The last known position of MH370 before it disappeared off the radar was 065515 North (longitude) and 1033443 East (latitude), according to MAS on March 8. The spot lies over waters between Malaysia and Viet Nam.

More than 10 countries including Malaysia, Viet Nam, Singapore, China, the United States, Thailand, Australia, the Philippines, Brunei and India have joined search-and-rescue operations in the area. A total of 43 vessels and 40 aircraft have been deployed as of March 13 and are searching the South China Sea and the Strait of Malacca.

"It is unprecedented to see so many countries send their naval and air forces on the operation," Wang Ya'nan, associate editor in chief of Aerospace Knowledge magazine told China Youth Daily. "Human life is everything. That is a universal consensus."

China has sent nine vessels equipped with five helicopters, infrared detectors, sonar machines and professional divers to the targeted area as of March 13. In addition, 10 high-resolution satellites have been deployed to offer services in weather monitoring, communication and other aspects for the search.

"This is a rare emergency that involves various departments at a multinational level," said Zhuo Li, deputy director with the China Marine Search and Rescue Center of the Ministry of Transport. "The only available clue as of day five is the flight's last known position."

The Chinese search-and-rescue team had searched nearly 46,000 square km of water for 100 continuous hours as of March 13, according to the China Maritime Search and Rescue Center, making the area already covered by China equivalent to the size of Denmark.

"It is the first time in the country's history that both military and civil organizations, namely the Navy, Air Force, maritime enforcement, satellites and merchant ships, have been involved in a coordinated offshore search-and-rescue operation," An Peng, a faculty with the Air Force Command Institute of the People's Liberation Army, told China Youth Daily. "The government is trying its best."

An's view was echoed by Lu Ning, chief commentator of Shanghai-based Oriental Morning Post. Lu believes that the emergency search-and-rescue capability is an important manifestation of China's comprehensive national strength. It includes the speed of response, the forces being deployed and their quality.

"We can see the progress that the government has made during the operation, although there is space for improvement regarding experience and advanced techniques," said Lu. "No matter what the outcome is, I commend the government's performance."

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