The Telegraph
Tuesday , March 25 , 2014
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Bad weather halts search for debris of Malaysian plane

Perth/Kuala Lumpur, Mar 25 (PTI): The multinational search for the Malaysian jet's debris was suspended on Tuesday following bad weather in the southern Indian Ocean, a day after it was announced that the missing plane had probably crashed in the remote area.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), which is leading the search operation, said its hunt for any signs of the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 has been suspended for the day due to poor weather.

The area, 2,500km southwest of Perth, experienced strong gale force winds of up to 80kmph, periods of heavy rain, and low cloud with a ceiling between 200 and 500 feet, hampering recovery operations, it said in a statement.

“Due to rough seas, HMAS Success departed the search area early this morning and is now in transit south of the search area until seas abate.

“A sea state ranging between 7 to 8 is forecast today with waves up to two metres and an associated swell of up to four metres,” the statement said.

AMSA has undertaken a risk assessment and determined that the current weather would make any air and sea search activities hazardous and pose a risk to crew following which it has suspended all sea and air search operations for Tuesday, the statement said.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced on Monday night that the missing jet had crashed in remote southern Indian Ocean with no survivors.

“With deep sadness and regret I must inform you that, according to new (satellite) data, flight MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean,” Najib said, 17 days after the jet vanished mysteriously while on a flight to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur.

Australian defence minister David Johnston said there was no success in recovering any debris of the missing jet and the incident remained a mystery.

“This is an extremely remote part of the world. It's a massive logistical exercise. To this point of time we have not recovered any debris from the aircraft in question,” he said.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said it has been a ”desperately difficult time for thousands and thousands of people right around the globe, particularly in China as well as in Malaysia” and said the grieving relatives of the victims are welcome to visit the country.

“I understand that the loved ones of those on that plane may well wish to come to Australia in the coming days and weeks. They will find a welcoming country that is more than willing to embrace them in this very difficult time,” he said.

Visa fees will be waived for grieving relatives wishing to come to Australia, Abbott later told Parliament.

In a press conference, Malaysia Airlines CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya extended condolences to the families and said further financial assistance would be provided to them as the search continued.

When asked when asked what really happened to the ill-fated plane and why it deviated its course, Yahya said: ”We do not know why, and we do not know how this terrible tragedy happened. But as the Malaysia Airlines family, we are all praying for the passengers and crew of Flight MH370.

Meanwhile in Beijing, families of the passengers on board the jet held a two-hour protest in front of the Malaysian Embassy demanding the truth behind the incident.

The protesters tried to enter the premises, threw water bottles, showed placards and chanted slogans like “we want the truth”.

China has demanded Malaysia to provide the satellite data that led to its conclusion that the plane ended in the Indian Ocean.

Aircraft and ships from over 20 nations have been hunting for the Boeing 777-200 since it disappeared on March 8.

The Beijing-bound jet was carrying 239 people, including five Indians, an Indo-Canadian and 154 Chinese nationals when it went missing an hour after take off from Kuala Lumpur.

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