Malaysian jet search concludes

Perth, March 31: Nothing related to the missing Malaysian jetliner was retrieved Monday as a multilateral air and sea hunt for MH370 concluded in waters about 1,850 km west of Perth.

All aircraft have returned to Perth with nothing significant to report, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), which oversees the search, said on Twitter, Xinhua reported.

The three-week scouring for trace of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has turned out sightings of hundreds of floating objects from satellites and aircraft, but none has been confirmed as the debris of MH370.

The AMSA Friday shifted the search area about 1,100 km to the northeast based on analysis of satellite and radar data.

The new area is about 319,000 sq km with a depth ranging from 2,000 metres to 4,000 metres.

Despite the challenges, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot showed determination in pressing ahead with the unprecedented task to locate the missing jet with 239 people on board.

“The best brains in the world are applying themselves to the task and all of the technological mastery we have is being applied and brought to bear here today,” he said during a visit to the Pearce Air Base near Perth Monday.

Abbott said Australia would not put a time limit on the search. “We owe it to everyone to do whatever we reasonably can and we can keep searching for quite some time to come.”

More than 100 people are in the air and about 1,000 sailors are on the sea looking for debris, according to Australian Defence Minister David Johnston.

Malaysia announced last Monday that according to analysis of satellite data MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean, a conclusion that lacks physical evidence.

A Joint Agency Coordination Centre was set up in Perth Monday to coordinate the international search effort and to ensure that families of those on board the missing plane are kept fully informed of the developments in the ongoing operation.

Australian navy ship, the Ocean Shield, equipped with a black box detector and an unmanned underwater drone, departed Perth later Monday for the search zone and transit is expected to take several days.

It is race against the time to find MH370′s black box with a few days left before its battery runs out, that will help solve the mystery of MH370 which flew far off-course en route from Kuala Lumpur to Bejing after vanishing from civilian radar screens March 8.

IANS