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Malaysia flight MH370: China planes boost Indian Ocean hunt

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Two Chinese military planes have arrived in Perth in Australia to join international search operations for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet, reports BBC.

Crews are scouring vast areas of the southern Indian Ocean for a fourth day.

Satellite images of floating objects and the sighting of a wooden pallet on Saturday have raised hopes that the airliner may be in the area.

China had criticised Malaysia for its handling of the search. Most of the 239 people on board were Chinese.

Malaysian officials suspect the plane, en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, was deliberately taken off course when it disappeared on 8 March.

The two Chinese aircraft have flown in from Malaysia, where they were helping with the search further north.

Australian officials said the Chinese crews would set themselves up on Sunday and join the search on Monday.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the sightings of objects were encouraging signs.

"Obviously we have now had a number of very credible leads and there is increasing hope - no more than hope, no more than hope - that we might be on the road to discovering what did happen to this ill-fated aircraft," he said.

John Young of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (Amsa), which is overseeing the search, said in a news conference that China "clearly has an intense interest in this operation".

He said as well as the two planes, China was also sending its polar research ship Xue Long, which was last involved in a major incident when it helped free a Russian ship from Antarctic ice in January.

The Australian navy's HMAS Success is the only ship currently involved in the mission.

Six planes flew out from Perth early on Sunday to continue their search.

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