BEIJING, March 27. /ITAR-TASS/. Chinese insurance companies have begun to offer payouts to the relatives of the missing Boeing 777-200, news agency Xinhua reported on Thursday. The firms begun offering insurance payments after Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced that the plane had probably fallen into sea with no survivors.
On Monday, the prime minister held a press-conference, where he said that the flight has been last registered on satellite images to the west of the Australian city of Perth in the Indian Ocean. Najib added that the plane was too far from the place where it could land, so the most probable version was that it had crashed in the ocean.
As of today, China’s largest insurance firm China Life has already paid more than 4 million yuan ($666,000) to the relatives of 7 out of 32 passengers of the missing Boeing, who were clients of the company. All insurance payments will stand at 9 million yuan ($1.46 million). On Wednesday, China Pacific Insurance, registered in Shanghai, made the first insurance payment of 525,000 yuan ($87,500). The relatives of 9 passengers, clients of China Life Insurance Co, will receive up to 1 million yuan ($166,000).
Australia continues to search for the missing Boeing that had disappeared in the Indian Ocean. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), which coordinates the international search operation, said that 11 planes will fly over the zone 2,500 km off western Australian coast. Australian ship Success is already searching the area. On Wednesday, four Chinese ships, including ice-breaker Xue Long, joined the operation.
The initial search zone was 23,000 km, but it was later expanded to 63,500 km and further to 80,000 km. The zone was divided in three sectors. AMSA said that on Wednesday three more objects possibly related to the missing Boeing were spotted in the ocean. However, it was hard to determine the exact location of the objects, and planes will search for them on March 27. AMSA added that bad weather may hamper the search on Thursday.
The first groups of relatives of the Boeing’s passengers will fly to the Australian city of Perth to follow the search operation. Western Australia’s premier Colin Barnett said that several hundred relatives of missing passengers will arrive in Perth in the coming days.
Boeing 777-200 (flight MH370) was flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 227 passengers and 12 crewmembers on board on March 7. Contact with it was lost about two hours after its departure from the Malaysian capital.