Malaysia names leader for MH370 international investigation team

KUALA LUMPUR Tue Apr 29, 2014 7:08am EDT

Air crew members from China, Malaysia and Japan involved in the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, wait for an official photograph as they stand on the tarmac at the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Pearce Base in Bullsbrook near Perth April 29, 2014. REUTERS/Richard Polden

Air crew members from China, Malaysia and Japan involved in the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, wait for an official photograph as they stand on the tarmac at the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Pearce Base in Bullsbrook near Perth April 29, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Richard Polden

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KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysia has hired Kok Soo Chon, a former director-general at the department of civil aviation, to lead the international investigation team tasked to find the cause of the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, the government said on Tuesday.

Other team members are from the U.S. National Transport Safety Board, Britain's Air Accidents Investigations Branch, China's Aircraft Accident Investigation Department, France's Land Transport Accident Investigation Bureau, the Australia Transport Safety Bureau, aircraft manufacturer Boeing and British satellite communications company Inmarsat.

The team also has representatives from Singapore and Indonesia.

"The main purpose of the international investigation team is to evaluate, investigate and determine the actual cause of the incident so similar incidents could be avoided in the future," Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said.

The investigation, he said in a statement, "is not aimed at apportioning blame or liability with regards to the incident".

The search for Flight MH370, which vanished while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8 with 239 people on board, has so far failed to turn up any trace of wreckage from the plane.

Efforts have focused on a vast expanse of water in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Western Australia. It remains unclear what caused the Boeing 777 to veer sharply off course and disappear from radar as it prepared to cross into Vietnamese airspace.

Malaysia will discuss with other countries involved in the search, the deployment of equipment with deep sea search capabilities, the cost of the operation and how best to keep next of kin informed. It is also verifying reports of potential wreckage sightings in the Bay of Bengal, the statement said.

(This story was refiled to fix the headline)

(Reporting By Al-Zaquan Amer Hamzah; Editing by Ron Popeski)

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