Perth, March 31 (Reuters): Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said today the hunt for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 had no time limit, despite the failure of an international operation to find any sign of the plane in three weeks of fruitless searching.
A total of 20 aircraft and ships were again scouring a massive area in the Indian Ocean some 2,000 km west of Perth, where investigators believe the Boeing 777 carrying 239 people came down. “I’m certainly not putting a time limit on it,” Abbott said after meeting flight crews at Pearce airbase in Perth.
“The intensity of our search and the magnitude of our operations is increasing, not decreasing,” he said, adding that searchers owed it to grieving families of passengers to continue the hunt.
Some families have strongly criticised Malaysia’s handling of the search and investigation, including the decision last week to say that, based on satellite evidence, the plane had crashed in the southern Indian Ocean on March 8. Abbott rejected suggestions his Malaysian counterpart, Najib Razak, had been too hasty to break that news, given that no confirmed wreckage from the plane has been found and its last sighting on radar was northwest of Malaysia heading towards India.