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Seabed search for missing Malaysian jet to widen




By ROD McGUIRK

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) - The seabed search for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet is set to widen as a sonar scan of the most likely crash site deep beneath the Indian Ocean nears completion without yielding a single clue, authorities said on Friday.

Meanwhile in Beijing, about 50 relatives of Chinese passengers on the plane on Friday continued a sit-in protest outside the Malaysian embassy after officials failed to show up to update them on the search.

The Australian search coordination center said a robotic submarine had scanned 95 percent of a 310-square-kilometer (120-square-mile) search area since last week but had found nothing of interest. The U.S. Navy's Bluefin 21 is creating a three-dimensional sonar map of the ocean floor near where signals consistent with airplane black boxes were heard on April 8.

The search area is a circle with a 10-kilometer (6-mile) radius 4.5 kilometers (2.8 miles) deep off the west Australian coast. The search of the target area is scheduled to be completed within days.

"If no contacts of interest are made, Bluefin 21 will continue to examine the areas adjacent to the 10-kilometer radius," the center said in a statement.

"We are currently consulting very closely with our international partners on the best way to continue the search into the future," it added, referring to Malaysia, United States and China.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak told CNN on Thursday that his government will release a preliminary report on the plane's disappearance next week.

The report has already been sent to the United Nation's International Civil Aviation Organization, but has yet to be made available to the public, CNN reported.

Malaysia PM Raza: 'We're Committed to the Flight MH370 Search'

The Malaysian government, which has primary responsibility for the investigation, has been accused of mismanaging the search, concealing information about the tragedy and of being too slow to update families of the missing on developments.

In Beijing, the relatives had marched to the Malaysian embassy from their hotel Thursday night after Malaysian officials failed to show up for a promised briefing.

"We keep on waiting because we want the news," said Steve Wang, whose parents were aboard the flight and who has served as a representative for the relatives.

"What we are concerned about is where is the plane, and where are our loved ones," Wang said.

Some relatives scuffled with police officers who tried to prevent them leaving the hotel. On Friday morning, more than 100 police and paramilitary officers had cordoned off the area around the embassy in a northeastern diplomatic district that is also home to the U.S. Embassy.

Wang said the relatives felt slighted by the failure of the Malaysian officials to appear for the briefing. A number of Chinese relatives have refused to accept the theory that the plane crashed in the Indian Ocean and insist that Malaysian officials have not told them the truth about the plane's disappearance.

Australian Defense Minister David Johnston said this week that an announcement was likely next week on the next phase of the search for the Boeing 777 which vanished with 239 passengers and crew - mostly Chinese - on board on March 8 during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

He said the next phase was likely to deploy more powerful side-scan sonar equipment that can delve deeper than the Bluefin 21.

On Friday, up to 8 planes and 10 ships were to search for debris over a 49,000 square kilometer (19,000 square mile) ocean expanse 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles) northwest of the city of Perth where the search is headquartered, the center said.

_____

Associated Press writer Christopher Bodeen in Beijing contributed to this report.


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fhuseby April 25 2014 at 11:55 AM

I was more upset by the lead-in that the families were protesting outside the US Embassy. Once you get over to the actual story, it says they were protesting at the Malaysian Embassy (I am guessing in China?) Please correct your lead-in, AOL

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1 reply
Eddie Ozment fhuseby April 25 2014 at 12:11 PM

The protesters are carrying a sign saying that "Obama you are not welcome" . The article is confusing.

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ctheleroys April 25 2014 at 1:57 PM

To protest outside an American embassy as if somehow America is responsible for this tragic event is a blind attempt to force an outcome that would give some answers to these families of the missing. We are all grieving together for our losses and an answer may never come... until this plane shows up in yet another tragic event such as 9/11. The answers may never come which is always a very sad ending for those left behind.

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1 reply
borisiak ctheleroys April 25 2014 at 2:10 PM

They were protesting the Malaysian Embassy.
"On Friday morning more than 100 police and paramilitary officers had cordoned off the area around the embassy in a northeastern diplomatic district that is also home to the U.S. Embassy".
What originally brought me to this article was the picture of an anti-Obama banner. What does Obama have to do with this? And I'm not his biggest fan...

Flag Reply +3 rate up
hanlon1212 April 25 2014 at 2:05 PM

That's a strange way to beg for money / assistance.

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David S. April 25 2014 at 2:13 PM

All the protesting in the world will not bring back their loved ones.......times for these folks to get on with their lives.

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trimules April 25 2014 at 2:17 PM

It appears that the "Protest at US Embassy" picture has absolutely NOTHING to do with therelatives of thoseon the missing plane. These are just the "usual suspects" protesting the visit of President Obama as they would no matter who was President. Notice the old communist hammer and sickle tee shirt. If you scanned the crowd you would probably see "Yankee go home" and "Nixon Out" signs as well.

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1 reply
acowgurl trimules April 25 2014 at 3:04 PM

Good eye!

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DJ April 25 2014 at 2:18 PM

I understand the frustration and pain the families and friends of the missing must feel but protesting people who had nothing more to do with it besides lending aid?

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1 reply
hahudz DJ April 25 2014 at 2:49 PM

They have become irrational. They are prortesting that there are no answers ! Well, unfortuanately, in spite of TV shows solving mysteries in half an hour, in the real world, sometimes there are simply no fast answers.
Protesting will not produce answers, though they seem no think it will.
I think in this case, there will not be answers for a long time......

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1 reply
mizliz11 hahudz April 25 2014 at 3:31 PM

Yes, not to mention disrespectful

Flag +1 rate up
obie3939 April 25 2014 at 2:22 PM

To the Chinese relatives of the passangers MH370 protesting in front of the American Embassy, if this continues my recommendation is "If this does not stop immediately stop providing assistance in the search and take your ships, planes and other equipment back to America"

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1 reply
hackitoff obie3939 April 25 2014 at 2:51 PM

the US should hang a big sign on its embassy gates, if you are not happy with our aid in searching for the plane, then we'll go home and you can hire rowboats or South Korean ferries to look for it yourselves.

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1 reply
mchris1542 hackitoff April 25 2014 at 4:16 PM

I'm with you

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BrendaBmusic April 25 2014 at 2:30 PM

we need to leave and take all our ships, and MONEY from them. Sorry for the loss and sad for how this happend (that we will probably never know the real answer) They want America out, then take all out.

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KILO ROCK BRAVO April 25 2014 at 2:31 PM

I have, after observing the outbursts of family members for a long time surpressed critisizim of grieving family members in respect of thier grief, but Christ, they've done everything but blame Calvin Coolidge for making the plane disappear, and throw insults at Sean Hannity for not finding them.

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mbrheljr April 25 2014 at 2:51 PM

Here's what I think.

Foreign aid should be tied to the recipient country's residents NOT criticizing the USA.

Perhaps each such grant should be secured by an amount of personal property placed into an escrow account in the USA worth at least ten times the amount of the aid provided.

And, prior to the aid being delivered, a pledge is signed by that country's leader promising to forfeit the security upon any defined criticism being made.

Big free speech fan. Just not a foreign aid fan.

And, remember, boys and girls, like the '60's bumper sticker reminds us: "GAS, GRASS OR ASS, NOBODY RIDES FOR FREE"...

Flag Reply +4 rate up
2 replies
acowgurl mbrheljr April 25 2014 at 3:29 PM

mbrhelijr - "And, remember, boys and girls, like the '60's bumper sticker reminds us: "GAS, GRASS OR ASS, NOBODY RIDES FOR FREE"...

You can sure tell that the bumper sticker you posted is from the 60's! Because now, most anyone who wants a free ride, gets it...

Flag Reply 0 rate up
you sweet thing mbrheljr April 25 2014 at 5:16 PM

"Foreign aid should be tied to the recipient country's residents NOT criticizing the USA."

In that case, let's rescind obama's paycheck, he doesn't earn it anyway.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
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