MH370 Crash: Indian Ocean ‘Nightmare’ for Search Operatives but Search On till Hope is Gone, PM says

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By Athena Yenko | March 26, 2014 1:10 PM EST

During an interview with Channel Nine, Prime Minister Tony Abbott was asked how long Australia will search for the missing plane.

"We keep searching until there is absolutely no hope of finding anything. It is not absolutely open-ended but it is not something we will lightly abandon."

Mr Abbott said that there were already 12 aircrafts in the search area Wednesday and more aids are on the way. He said Chinese naval and civilian ships will join RAN Oiler HMAS Success. A black box recovery equipment is on its way from the United States.

"Obviously we're throwing everything we have at this search. Plainly there is quite a bit of debris in this part of the southern Indian Ocean. We've photographed it on a number of occasions now. We have not yet recovered any because of the difficulty of locating bits of debris in a vast ocean but we are just going to keep on looking. We owe it to the families," Mr Abbott told Channel Nine.

The search for the missing MH370 is extremely challenging.

The Indian Ocean is the "worst nightmare" for those involve in the search, as described by University Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) professor for hydrography and ocean mapping Prof Dr Mohd Razali Mahmud.

Mr Razali Mahmud said that the Indian Ocean has terrible high waves, rapid under currents and strong winds. A multi-beam sonar system will be the most important equipment to locate the wreckage successfully as the topography of the area is like a land with ravines and mountains.

"Some of the waves can be as high as five metres, and this will be a huge challenge for any salvage operation. I just hope that the wreckage is lying on a flat area as a search operation becomes complicated if it (wreckage) is lodged in a ravine or a mountainous area," Mr Razali Mahmud.

He explained that the search area has depths too deep for any diver at 4,000cm to 7,000m. Oil and gas sector or off-shore survey companies might have the proper equipment for this but unfortunately for Malaysia, its multi-bean sonar can only search about 1,000m.

Mr Razali Mahmud regretfully said that chances of survival for anyone would be impossible past 18 days on a life raft.

Universiti Malaysia Terengganu School of Marine Science and Environment dean Prof Dr Zulfigar Yasin also describe the Indian Ocean as having the roughest sea conditions in the world.

"The last position of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 was in the middle of the Indian Ocean, west of Perth. The area is not within the normal shipping lane, and most oceanic traffic occur further up north," he said. 

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