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Australia launches coordination center for searching MH370

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-04-01 15:06

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Australia launches coordination center for searching MH370
PERTH, Australia  -- A Perth-based Joint Agency Coordination Center (JACC) was officially launched Tuesday to coordinate the multinational search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

The center will work with Australian government, state and international partners to provide a single contact point for families and oversee communication with international agencies involved in the effort, it said.

Former Defense chief Angus Houston was appointed to head the 20-staff center.

The search for the Malaysian jetliner, which vanished on March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on broad, will continue on Tuesday.

Ten aircraft will be sent to the search zone in the southern Indian Ocean, about 1,850 km west of Australia, including nine military planes and one civil plane, the JACC said in a statement Tuesday.

Seven countries -- Australia, the United States, China, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea and Malaysia -- have contributed ships and aircraft to the hunt off the coast of Perth, the JACC said.

Australian navy ship Ocean Shield, equipped with a black box detector and an unmanned underwater drone, left Stirling naval base on Monday.

The ongoing search for missing plane could drag on for a long time, Houston said on Tuesday.

As four orange items of interest, the most promising lead in the search so far, were confirmed as fishing junk and nothing more significant has been sighted, the hunt was again marred with frustration Monday, according to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority ( AMSA).

Despite the challenges, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot showed determination in pressing ahead with the unprecedented task to locate the missing jet.

"The best brains in the world are applying themselves to the task and all of the technological mastery we have is being applied and brought to bear here today," he told the press during a visit to the Pearce Air Base near Perth on Monday.

Abbott said Australia would not put a time limit on the search. "We owe it to everyone to do whatever we reasonably can and we can keep searching for quite some time to come."

More than 100 people are in the air and about 1,000 sailors are on the sea looking for debris, said Australian Defense Minister David Johnston.

With the black box battery waning after 30 days, Australian Transport Minister Warren Truss has said the immediate search priority was to recover it.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak will arrive in Perth, West Australia on Wednesday to witness the ongoing search operation for the passenger jet.

Australia launches coordination center for searching MH370

Australia launches coordination center for searching MH370 

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