Malaysia asks U.S. for surveillance equipment to help find missing jet
WASHINGTON (AP/WJLA) - Malaysia is asking the United States to provide undersea surveillance equipment to help in the search for the missing Malaysian Airlines jet.
The investigation continues over the desolate South Indian Ocean on Friday for any signs of missing flight 370. But so far, investigators have returned empty-handed.
"We've just landed from our 11-hour mission out to the search area. It's unfortunate to say that we haven't found anything out there. The conditions, however, are good for a visual search," explained Flight Lieutenant Josh Williams with the Royal Australian Air Force.
Authorities are following up on a commercial satellite’s spotting five days ago of two objects bobbing in the waves – but they may have drifted off by now or sunk, as parts of the Indian Ocean are as deep as 14 Empire State Buildings piled end to end.
"It's about the most inaccessible spot you could imagine on the face of the earth, but if there is anything down there, we will find it," said Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
In the meantime, other discoveries are being questioned -- like a shipment of potentially flammable lithium-ion batteries in the jet’s cargo hold – but airline officials say that is not unusual:
"We do check them, check them several times, make sure the packing is right," assured Malaysia Airlines CEO Ahman Yahya.
The Pentagon press secretary, Rear Adm. John Kirby, says the request for more U.S. equipment came Friday when Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel spoke with Malaysia's defense minister and acting transport minister.
Kirby says in a statement that Hagel has promised to assess the availability of the military undersea technology and its usefulness in the search effort.
The Pentagon says it has spent $2.5 million to operate ships and aircraft that have been helping look for the plane and has budgeted another $1.5 million for search efforts.
Two Chinese aircraft are expected to arrive in Perth on Saturday to join the search, and two Japanese aircraft will arrive Sunday. A small flotilla of ships from China is still several days away.