December 22, 2014
Search for Malaysian jet resumes off Australia after weather improves
The search for the Malaysian airliner that disappeared 18 days ago resumed today in the southern Indian Ocean, looking for debris that may unlock the mystery of why the plane ended up in frigid seas thousands of miles off course.
A dozen aircraft from Australia, the United States, China, Japan and South Korea will scour the seas some 2,500 km (1,550 miles) southwest of Perth in the hunt for potential debris, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said. Bad weather forced the suspension of the search.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak this week confirmed that Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, which vanished while flying to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur, had crashed in the southern Indian Ocean.
Citing satellite-data analysis by British company Inmarsat , he said there was no doubt the Boeing 777 came down in one of the most remote places on Earth - an implicit admission that all 239 people on board had died.
"We keep searching until there is absolutely no hope of finding anything," Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott told Australia's Nine Network Television today. "Plainly, there is quite a bit of debris in this part of the southern Indian Ocean. We've photographed it on a number of occasions now."
While numerous floating objects have been seen by satellite images and spotter planes in the search zone, none has been positively identified as coming from the missing jet.
Recovery of wreckage could unlock clues about why the plane had diverted so far off course. Theories range from a hijacking to sabotage or a possible suicide by one of the pilots, but investigators have not ruled out technical problems.
An Australian navy ship is returning to the area after being driven away by gale force winds and 20m (66ft) waves, while a Chinese icebreaker and other Chinese navy vessels are steaming towards the search zone.