Malaysian Prime Minister, Najib Razak, is to visit Perth in Australia to see the base from which the search for missing Malaysia Airways flight MH370 is being coordinated.
Speaking at a press conference, acting transport minister Hishammuddin Hussein said that a multinational team of ships and planes are now searching an area of 254,000 square kilometres (98,070 square miles). In the clearest indication yet that authorities believe the plane may have sunk, Hussein said the Malaysian government will also discuss assets for a deep-sea search.
The news comes as China bluntly told families of the passengers to accept that their relatives are dead and prepare their funerals. There have been angry protests in China, something almost unheard of in the communist state, over the Malaysian government’s handling of the search.
But an editorial in a state-run China Daily newspaper urged families to divert their anger away from Malaysia and instead focus on preparing for the funerals of their relatives.
Yesterday, an Australian P-3 Orion aircraft spotted at least four orange objects in the search area, each more than six foot in length. The pilot, Fl Lt Russell Adams said that the sighting was their most promising lead yet.
But earlier today, Australian officials confirmed that the objects had nothing to do with the flight.
Malaysian Prime Minister Razak has received criticism over the weekend for saying that all on board the flight had perished, when he had no hard evidence to prove it.
However, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott defended him, saying: “The accumulation of evidence is that the aircraft has been lost and it has been lost somewhere in the south of the Indian Ocean. That’s the absolute, overwhelming way of evidence and I think Prime Minister Naijb Razak was perfectly entitled to come to that conclusion.
“I think once that conclusion had been arrived at it was his duty to make that conclusion public.”