Malaysian Minister of Defence and Transport Hishammuddin Hussein thanked the Defence Ministry of Vietnam for positive support in the hunt for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 during his telephone talks with Defence Minister General Phung Quang Thanh on March 18.

Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 with 239 people on board lost radar contact with air controllers early on March 8 on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing .

The Malaysian Minister said the jetliner has yet been located and his country is expanding its search areas to the north and south of the Indian Ocean after halting its operation in the East Sea.

General Phung Quang Thanh told his counterpart that right upon receiving the information on the missing jet, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung directed the Ministries of Defence, Transport as well as authorised agencies to mobilise forces and assets for the search.

He said the Air Force-Air Defence will continue keeping a close eye in the case and promptly inform the Malaysian side any new information.

With a high sense of responsibility, Vietnam has deployed its forces in the largest scale in the search with 11 aircraft and seven ships together with ground forces of Military Regions 5,7 and 9, border guards, coast guards, locals and all fishing boats and ships. The search area was widened to 87,000 square kilometres and later to all the waters managed by Vietnam from the initial 40,000 square kilometres.

The aircraft have made 55 sorties and the boats and ships combed over 100,000 square kilometres of the sea.-VNA