Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Bad weather halts search for wreckage

Written by PTI | Perth, Kuala Lumpur | Updated: Mar 25 2014, 18:40pm hrs
Malaysia Airlines planeA crewman of an RAAF AP-3C Orion aircraft looking out his observation window whilst searching for missing Malaysia Airways Flight MH370 Monday, March 24, 2014. The search is being conducted in an area 2,500km off the South West coast of Perth after the Malaysian Airways aircraft went missing on 8th March 2014 whilst on a flight between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing. (AP)
The multinational search for the Malaysian jet's debris was today suspended due to bad weather in southern Indian Ocean, a day after it was announced that the missing plane had crashed in the remote area.

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

The area, 2,500 kilometres southwest of Perth, experienced strong gale force winds of up to 80 km/h, 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 conditions 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 today due to these weather conditions, the statement said.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced last 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.

Australian Defence 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 today.

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 satellite data which led to its judgement 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.


The New Straits Times' darkened front page showed an aircraft above the words "Goodnight, MH370" -- a reference to the last message from the cockpit, "All right, good night", before the Malaysia Airlines jet lost contact on March 8.

Also read: Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370


Updates with latest search area and possible debris location for Malaysian Airlines flight MH370


A sympathy message is displayed at the webpage of the Malaysia Airlines website, in Shah Alam, outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Tuesday, March 25, 2014. It was the grim news that families of the missing Malaysian Airlines flight had dreaded for weeks, and on Monday they heard it from Malaysias prime minister: new analysis of satellite data indicates the missing plane crashed into a remote corner of the Indian Ocean. (AP)


A model plane of MH370 on display at well wish board for passengers aboard a missing Malaysia Airlines plane at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, Malaysia, Tuesday, March 25, 2014. China demanded Tuesday that Malaysia turn over satellite data used to conclude that a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet was lost in the southern Indian Ocean with no survivors during a flight to Beijing.(AP)