Flight MH370: New Zealand to Continue Search; PM John Key Says No 'Firm Evidence' to Support New Statement

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By Reissa Su | March 25, 2014 2:25 PM EST

New Zealand will continue searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 carrying 239 people, according to Prime Minister John Key.

Following the Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's statement that the missing aircraft was last pinpointed at the Southern Indian Ocean, Mr Key said New Zealand will still look for signs of the missing plane since there is no "firm evidence."

REUTERS/Samsul Said
A woman writes a message on a board dedicated to passengers onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 and their family members, in Petaling Jaya March 19, 2014.

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Mr Key, who is currently in Hague for the Nuclear Security Summit, said he had no other information aside from several media reports and a statement from the Malaysian Prime Minister who believes all hope of finding survivors is gone.

A New Zealand Air Force P3 Orion has been involved in the international effort to search for the lost Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. The Orion has scoured the remote seas off Australia's Perth to possibly spot any signs of the Boeing 777.

Mr Key said that he does not question the Malaysian prime minister's statement based on satellite data. The New Zealand prime minister remarked that family members will want closure. There is a need to provide them with "appropriate evidence" to support the statement.

Passengers from New Zealand, the 39-year-old Paul Weeks and 50-year-old Ximin Wang, were among the 239 people aboard the doomed Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370. The plane went missing on March 8 and lost all communications with ground control.

Mr Key said he was "deeply distressed" for the families of the two New Zealand passengers. He expressed his sympathies and said his heart goes out to the families especially after hearing the new information.

He said the Malaysian Prime Minister's statements may be taken with a "degree of subjectivity."  Mr Key is confident that everyone will still continue to search for the Malaysia Airlines plane and find "absolute hard evidence."

Mr Key said the hunters for the missing plane know that there may be a lot of debris somewhere. Mr Najib has based his statement on the information about the plane's last known whereabouts.

According to reports, the families and relatives of passengers aboard the missing plane received a text message moments before the Malaysian Prime Minister was set to give his statement.

Families were informed via SMS that they must accept all evidence indicating that the aircraft went down in the southern Indian Ocean. The rest of the message read, "Malaysia Airlines deeply regrets that we have to assume beyond any reasonable doubt that MH370 has been lost and that none of those on board survived."

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(Photo: REUTERS/Samsul Said / )
A woman writes a message on a board dedicated to passengers onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 and their family members, in Petaling Jaya March 19, 2014.
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