An emergency response team assembled by the Ministry of Transport (MOT) set out early Sunday from south China's Sanya Port in Hainan Province to the sea area where it is thought the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 might have crashed.


Rescue vessel "South China Sea Rescue 101" is carrying 12 divers and salvagers, and will join another rescue vessel, "South China Sea Rescue 115," at the rescue site.


The latter ship is scheduled to arrive at the site on Monday afternoon, while "South China Sea Rescue 101" will get there on Tuesday afternoon, according to the MOT.


Rescue work remains challenging as there is no exact location of the possible crash site and it will take about two days for the rescue ship to reach the water, said Zeng Ying, leader of the emergency team.


"But we will try our best," added Zeng.


Sanya Port is about 700 sea miles from the possible site. Both of the rescue vessels have helipads which enable air search and rescue.


"South China Sea Rescue 101" is 109.7 meters long, with 6,200 tonnes of full load displacement.


Meanwhile, another rescue vessel, "Tai Shun Hai" of China Ocean Shipping (Group) Company arrived at the possible site at 9 a.m. Sunday and started searching, according to the MOT.


A Boeing 777-200 aircraft operated by Malaysia Airlines left Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 12:41 a.m. Beijing time on Saturday and was expected to land in Beijing at 6:30 a.m., after a 3,700-km trip.


Contact with the flight was lost along with its radar signal at 1:20 a.m. Beijing time on Saturday when it was flying over the Ho Chi Minh air traffic control area in Vietnam.


The flight was carrying 12 crew members and 227 passengers, including 154 Chinese.




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