New Zealand Orion Looking for MH370 Debris Finds Sinking Boat Off Perth

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By Reissa Su | April 29, 2014 5:20 PM EST

A New Zealand plane searching for possible debris from the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 has located a sinking yacht and came to its rescue. The yacht had sent out a distress signal on April 27.

REUTERS/JASON REED
A Royal Australian Air Force P-3 Orion aircraft takes off from RAAF Base Pearce north of Perth on 21 March, 2014.

The Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion was returning home from a search mission when it was asked to check the reported distress signal. The sinking yacht was found with one passenger on board off the coast of Perth. The yacht, known as the Elkan, was found with the water line almost reaching the hull by the time a rescue helicopter from Australia was called to airlift the boatman.

MH370 search continues no matter what

Australia has vowed it will not abandon the search for the lost Malaysia Airlines plane and insisted the cost of the search operations is "not a concern."  Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said a new approach to the search will begin if current underwater efforts failed to retrieve something related to the plane. Defence Minister David Johnston said the search operations need more powerful sonar equipment in the next phase.

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 had 239 passengers and crew aboard from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. The plane lost all communications with ground control on March 8 and was never heard from since.

The US Navy's Bluefin-21 mini-submarine has covered more than 80 per cent of the 310 sq km search area in the deeper southern Indian Ocean. No signs of debris have been recovered.

Mr Abbott has recently announced that the search for Flight MH370 has entered a new phase and air search efforts were being scaled back. He said the air and sea search efforts had failed so far to retrieve any sign of the plane or any of the passengers or crew on board including New Zealanders and Australians.

The Australian prime minister said it was unlikely that any debris from the missing plane will be found floating in the surface. He said the plane would have been filled with water by now since it has been over 50 days since the plane's mysterious disappearance. 

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(Photo: REUTERS/JASON REED / )
A Royal Australian Air Force P-3 Orion aircraft takes off from RAAF Base Pearce north of Perth on 21 March, 2014.
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