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Chinese planes in Perth step up search efforts

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Two Chinese planes have arrived at an Australian air force base, carrying a search team of 38 people, and radar and optical equipment. They joined a transport aircraft which arrived at the base on Friday.

Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss told media that the additional planes will play a key role in the coming critical days, as the air search changed from radar detection to visual sightings.

The two planes are Il-76s, which is a multi-purpose four-engine strategic airlifter widely used as emergency response transport. The Chinese search mission is focusing on two routes. The first one is located in the southern Indian Ocean where two large objects were spotted by Australia on Thursday.

Chinese navy ships as well as a commercial ship are approaching the search site. Meanwhile, Chinese icebreaker "Xuelong" has also left Perth for the site. The other route focuses on the sea area of west Indonesia. Haixun 01 had been searching there since Friday, and was joined by Nanhaijiu 101 on Saturday. But now Haixun 01 is also headed for the search site near Australia.

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