Burma Will Allow MH370 Search to Continue in Its Territory: Official

By Kyaw Hsu Mon 18 March 2014

RANGOON — Burma’s Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) will allow Malaysian authorities to continue searching for the missing flight MH370 in Burmese airspace, an official said Tuesday.

Burma had initially allowed the search to be extended into its territory for a week from March 11 as an international search for the Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 aircraft widened. The flight, which was heading from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, last made contact with air traffic control from the Gulf of Thailand on Saturday, but is now thought to have been deliberately turned westward and may have continued flying for hundreds of miles.

Tin Naing Tun, DCA director general, told The Irrawaddy that Burma would grant Malaysia permission to continue searching its territory, if it is requested.

“Today is a week since we allowed them to search in Burmese airspace, but nothing has been found here. If the Malaysian authorities want to search again and they make a request, we will allow them as extension period,” Tin Naing Tun said.

“But up to today, they haven’t asked us if they can search it again.”

Burma has said it is working with Malaysian authorities to coordinate the search, and three Burma Navy ships are reportedly part of the efforts. But officials have admitted that Burma’s radar technology is poor and therefore the country’s contribution to the search has been limited.

Tin Naing Tun said Malaysia had searched Burmese airspace and waters on Saturday and Sunday. The search included Burmese parts of the Bay of Bengal and the Gulf of Martaban, as well as the area around Coco Island, just north of the Indian-controlled Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

The Indian and United States air forces and navies have been searching other parts of the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean for signs of the missing plane, he added.