HTMS Pattani searching for missing Malaysian Airlines aircraft

Friday, 14 March 2014 From Issue Vol. XXII No. 11 By  MCOT

Thailand has sent an offshore patrol vessel, HTMS Pattani, to help in the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines passenger jet in the Andaman Coast.

Thai Navy commander Admiral Narong Pipatanasai said the HTMS Pattani was patrolling off the Phangnga coast and was instructed to head to Malacca Straits as requested by the Malaysian government to join search and rescue operations for the Boeing 777 flight MH370.

HTMS Pattani began its search mission Monday morning, with 111 personnel including the vessel’s crew, divers, a medical team and patrol aircraft pilots.

He said the search will continue until there is an order to stop the operations.

Earlier, the Malaysian authorities believe that the MK370 flight might have crashed in lower Gulf of Thailand, in the Vietnam’s sea territory, or in the Straits of Malacca, near the Andaman Sea.

The Singaporean and Vietnamese naval units are conducting search operations in the gulf, while Thailand was asked to help search for the ill-fated flight in the Andaman Sea.

Currently, a total of 34 aircraft and 40 ships are in hunt for the missing plane. Among them are those sent by Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Vietnam and China.

The USS Pinckney, an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer from the United States, has also been deployed to the area with its two helicopters equipped for search and rescue. The U.S. Navy also said it is deploying an Orion aircraft based in Okinawa, Japan. It will bring long-range search, radar and communications capabilities to the search mission.

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