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Accidents

US considers Malaysia undersea search request for flight MH370

The US has said it is considering a request from Malaysia for underwater equipment to search for missing flight MH370. Efforts led by Australia to locate traces of the plane have so far yielded no concrete results.

Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said on Friday that, in a phone call with Malaysia's defense minister and acting transport minister, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel had promised to asses a request made by Malaysia.

In the phone call, Hagel's Malaysian opposite number Hishammuddin Hussein had "requested that the US consider providing some undersea surveillance equipment," Kirby said.

The US military says it has spent $2.5 million (1.81 million euros) operating ships and aircraft to search for the missing Boeing 777, which disappeared on its way to Beijing after taking off from Kuala Lumpur on March 8.

Two US maritime surveillance planes, a P-3 Orion and a P-8 Poseidon, have been involved in efforts to trace the aircraft, which was carrying 239 people.

While officials did not reveal the exact nature of equipment Washington might deploy, the Pentagon is understood to have invested heavily in robotic technology designed to repel torpedoes and other attacks by enemy submarines.

Malaysian authorities have been under mounting pressure over their handling of the search efforts for the plane. Officials have several times been accused of giving out conflicting information about the flight's last detected location and the passengers on board.

Australian officials have promised to continue a search for two large objects that were spotted by satellite earlier in the week, after search places dispatched to the location failed to turn up results.

However, the international team leading the hunt in the southern Indian Ocean had so far found no clues, Australia's deputy prime minister Warren Truss said on Friday.

rc/dr (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)

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