UK & World News

  • 26 March 2014, 9:36

MH370 Search Resumes As Weather Improves

The search operation for wreckage from Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has restarted with an improvement in weather conditions off the Australian coast.

Gale-force winds, heavy rain, huge waves and low-hanging cloud had forced the international operation to be abandoned for 24 hours.

But crews were able to set off from Western Australia for the search zone in the southern Indian Ocean on Wednesday morning local time.

"Today's search is split into three areas within the same proximity covering a cumulative 80,000 sq km," said the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, which is coordinating the search.

Twelve aircraft and five ships are involved in the search some 1,550 miles southwest of Perth, which also involves New Zealand, the US, Japan, China and Korea.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the search would continue until there was no hope of finding anything from the Boeing 777 passenger jet, which vanished on March 8 on its way to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur.

"We are throwing everything we have at this search. We are just going to keep on looking because we owe it to people to do everything we can to resolve this riddle," he told Channel Nine.

He later told Channel 7: "This is about the most inaccessible spot imaginable. It's thousands of kilometres from anywhere."

Australia's parliament stood in silence in remembrance of the 239 people aboard the lost Malaysian airliner, who are presumed dead.

Before the weather stopped the previous search, hopes had been high that wreckage would be found after several sightings were made of objects, including a green circular item and an orange rectangular one.

But Mark Binskin, vice chief of Australia's Defence Force, underscored the daunting size of the search zone.

"We're not trying to find a needle in a haystack, we're still trying to define where the haystack is," he told reporters.

Officials earlier announced the hunt had been narrowed to the southern tip of the southern flight corridor the plane is thought to have followed.

Recovery of wreckage could provide clues about why the plane flying from Beijing to Kuala Lumpur had diverted so far off course.

Theories range from hijacking to sabotage or a possible suicide by one of the pilots, but investigators have not ruled out technical problems.

The hunt, which at one stage involved 26 countries, was called off in the northern corridor of the Indian Ocean.

The search resumes amid heavy criticism of Malaysia and the airline from the relatives of the people on the flight.

Dozens of angry Chinese people clashed with police in a protest outside Malaysia's Embassy in Beijing. Most of the passengers were Chinese.

China has also demanded Malaysia turn over the satellite data that was used to conclude the plane crashed into the ocean.