Wimmera man helps with search for MH370

A WIMMERA man is helping in the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

Former Balmoral student Richard Phillip Brown, a member of the Australian Army Reserve, was on board HMAS Perth during the search for the missing airliner.

His mother, Helen Brown, said she hoped the efforts of her son and the hundreds of others dedicated to finding the plane would come to fruition 'just so the families have got something to go by'.

Gunner Brown joined the Army Reserves on a break from his studies at Federation University in Ballarat.

"He got this opportunity to go up north to Darwin, and that's how he ended up being on the HMAS Perth," Mrs Brown said.

A photo featuring her son appeared on an Australian Defence Force web page.

Mrs Brown said she received several calls on Friday afternoon about a picture of her son that had surfaced on

Facebook.

It was a snapshot of Gunner Brown standing on the forecastle of HMAS Perth, binoculars in hand, searching for debris from a plane that has mystified the world for more than five weeks.

"I didn't even know the picture was there until someone saw it," Mrs Brown said.

This is not Gunner Brown's first stint serving Australia.

"After he finished school at Balmoral Community College, he did a 12-month gap year with the Army," Mrs Brown said.

He is on a six-month secondment in the Army.

"Every time something about it comes on the news I have a listen," Mrs Brown said.

"I really feel for the families that have lost loved ones. It's just disappeared, this plane -  they haven't got closure ."

Gunner Brown would be better known to Wimmera sports fans as Phillip Brown, a burly footballer for Harrow-Balmoral in the Horsham District Football League.

He has been a regular runner at the Stawell Gift, injuring his quad muscle in last year's gift heats.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 was carrying 239 people when it disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Beijing on March 8.

Signals believed to be coming from the plane's black box recorders earlier this month raised hopes the plane would soon be found.

But with no new 'pings' detected for several days, hope has turned to fear for the black box's battery life.

Fairfax Media yesterday reported Prime Minister Tony Abbott had told Chinese media the search for missing flight MH370 has been narrowed to an area of 2000 square kilometres.

"Trying to locate anything 4.5 kilometres beneath the surface of the ocean, about 1000 kilometres from land is a massive, massive task and it is likely to continue for a long time to come," he said.

Search efforts have focused on the southern Indian Ocean, north-west of Perth.

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