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UK offers help in search for plane

Prime Minister David Cameron has telephoned his Malaysian counterpart to offer Britain's help in dealing with the disappearance of Flight MH370.

Mr Cameron also told Najib Razak that his thoughts were with the families of those who were on board the Malaysian Airways jet, which went missing on March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

It was the first direct contact between the two prime ministers since the mystery began, said Mr Cameron's official spokesman.

The spokesman said Mr Cameron did not make specific offers of particular military or civilian assistance that the UK might be able to provide.

"It was very much inviting any specific requests from the Malaysians," he explained. "Prime Minister Najib said he would think about that and let us know if they have any specific requests."

Mr Cameron wanted to "make clear his thoughts are particularly with all the relatives of those who were on board the missing flight" and to "offer any support which the Malaysian authorities might find helpful", said the spokesman.

"Prime Minister Najib thanked him for that and they agreed to stay in touch on this issue."

Chief of Defence Staff General Sir Nick Houghton spoke yesterday to his Malaysian counterpart and said that the UK military was ready to consider any requests for assistance, said the Ministry of Defence.

A spokesman said that Gen Houghton did not offer the use of any specific piece of equipment or military unit, but made clear Britain was ready to help if it was feasible to do so. No request has yet been received from Malaysia.

Mr Cameron told Sky News Radio/IRN: "I wanted to discuss the help we have already been able to give with the UK-based satellite company that has been talking to the Malaysian authorities and to offer any other help that we could possibly give and to see if he had any particular requests or ideas for things that Britain could do.

"We are good friends with the Malaysians, it's a very close relationship between our countries, we feel for them at this time and we want to help in any way we can."

Hull University said it could not confirm reports one of its students, Chinese national Yue Wenchao, was among the passengers on the missing plane.

Jeannette Strachan, the university's registrar and secretary, said: " We are deeply concerned to hear that Yue Wenchao, a student in the final stages of his MSc degree with Hull University Business School, may be among the passengers on board the missing Malaysia Airlines' flight.

"Although we are not able to confirm these reports at this time, our thoughts are with the friends and relatives of all those affected."

Hull chemistry student Luke Taylor told the Hull Daily Mail: "It is a total shock. We just want Yue and all the other passengers on the plane to be found safe and well as soon as possible."


From Belfast Telegraph