* 10 ships, 10 aircraft head for search area west of Perth
* Low cloud, showers expected in search area - AMSA
* Undersea drone, black box detector head for search area
* Malaysian transport minister meets with Chinese families
By Michael Martina and Niluksi Koswanage
PERTH/KUALA LUMPUR, March 30 Ten ships and as
many aircraft will search a swathe of the Indian Ocean west of
Perth on Sunday, trying again to find some trace of missing
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 after more than three
weeks of fruitless and frustrating hunting.
Numerous objects have been spotted in the two days since
Australian authorities moved the search 1,100 km (685 miles)
after new analysis of radar and satellite data concluded the
Boeing 777 travelled faster and for a shorter distance
after vanishing from civilian radar screens on March 8.
However, none has been confirmed as coming from Flight MH370
and time is running out to find any debris, work out a likely
crash zone and recover the aircraft's "black box" voice and data
recorders before batteries pinging their location die.
An Australian navy ship fitted with a sophisticated U.S.
black box locater and an unmanned underwater drone is due to
leave later on Sunday. But the ADV Ocean Shield will take days
to reach the search zone, an area the size of New Mexico some
1,850 km (1,150 miles) to the west of Perth.
Malaysia says the plane, which disappeared less than an hour
into a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, was likely diverted
deliberately. Investigators have determined no apparent motive
or other red flags among the 227 passengers or the 12 crew.
WEATHER THREATENS EXPANDED SEARCH
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said
aircraft from China, Australia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and
the United States would be searching on Sunday.
"Weather in the search area is forecast to worsen today with
light showers and low cloud, though search operations are
expected to continue," AMSA said in a statement
Both a Chinese ship and an Australian navy vessel picked up
objects yesterday but nothing has been linked to Flight MH370.
The Chinese navy vessel Jinggangshan, which carries two
helicopters, reached the new search area early on Saturday where
it was expected to focus on searching for plane surfaces, oil
slicks and life jackets in a sea area of some 6,900 sq km, state
news agency Xinhua reported.
The search, being coordinated by Australia, has involved
unprecedented cooperation between more than two dozen countries
and 60 aircraft and ships but has also been bedevilled by
regional rivalries and an apparent reluctance to share
potentially crucial information due to security concerns.
The Malaysian government has come under strong criticism
from China, home to more than 150 of the passengers, where
relatives of the missing have accused the government of "delays
More than 20 Chinese relatives staged a brief protest on
Saturday outside the Lido hotel in Beijing where families have
been staying for the past three weeks, demanding evidence of the
The peaceful protest came just days after dozens of angry
relatives clashed with police after trying to storm the
Many of Saturday's protesters carried slogans demanding the
"truth" about their lost loved ones.
"They don't have any direct evidence," said Steve Wang, who
had a relative on the flight. "(Their conclusion) is only based
on mathematical (analysis) and they used an uncertain
mathematical model. Then they come to the conclusion that our
relatives are all gone."
Malaysia's acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein
said his country was committed to seeing the investigation
through to its final conclusion.
"What they want from us is a commitment to continue the
search, and that I have given, not only on behalf of the
Malaysian government but the so many nations involved," he told
reporters in Kuala Lumpur after speaking with families on
For more than a week, the international effort had been
scouring seas 2,500 km (1,550 miles) southwest of Perth, where
satellite images had shown possible debris from Flight MH370.
That search zone has now been abandoned.
In the first week of the search, Vietnamese, Chinese and
Malaysian ships and planes concentrated their efforts in the
South China Sea.
The shift north of the search was based on painstaking
analysis of Malaysian military radar data and satellite readings
from British company Inmarsat.
(Additional reporting by Matt Siegel in Perth, Rujun Shen in
Kuala Lumpur, Lincoln Feast and Jane Wardell in Sydney, Paul
Carsten and Xihao Jiang in Beijing; Writing by Lincoln Feast;
Editing by Dean Yates)