Missing Malaysia Flight MH370: ‘All Hope is Lost’ Says Australian PM; Insists Plane Crashed into Ocean
By Gopi Chandra Kharel | March 31, 2014 7:14 PM EST
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has echoed the words of Malaysian Government's announcement that all hopes are lost for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 as he visited RAAF base in Pearce, north of Perth on Monday.
Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 search: An object floats in the Indian Ocean. (Photo Reuters)
Declaring that all evidence points to the plane going down in the southern Indian Ocean, Abbot defended the Malaysian Prime Minister's announcement via bold text message and a chilling late night announcement last week that the plane has beyong reasonable doubt crashed somewhere in the southern Indian Ocean.
"The accumulation of evidence is that the aircraft has been lost somewhere in the south of the Indian Ocean," Abbott told reporters in Perth.
"That's the absolute, overwhelming way of evidence and I think Prime Minister Najib Razak was perfectly entitled to come to that conclusion," he said adding: "I think once that conclusion had been arrived at, it was his duty to make that conclusion public."
Razak was widely criticized on 24 March when he said in a news conference, citing data and satellite analysis from a British company, that the MH370's journey "ended in the southern Indian Ocean". He had said that the last known position of the missing plane was in the middle of the Indian Ocean and that there were no places nearby for the plane to land safely.
A massive international search is underway in the vast expenses of the southern Indian Ocean. But Australian Maritime Safety Authority shifted the search area 1,000 km closer to the country's west coast earlier this week adding to the ever growing anguish of desperate family members.
The new possible crash area now lies about 1,850 km (1,100 miles) west of the Australian city of Perth and covered a dizzying area of 319,000 square kilometers, an area which is significantly bigger than the entire United Kingdom.
Abbott said on Monday that to find any clues on the missing plane was an "extraordinarily difficult" operation and said that there would be no time limit on the search effort.
"I think we owe it to the families, we owe it to everyone who travels by air, we owe it to the governments of countries who had citizens on that aircraft, we owe it to the wider world who has been transfixed by this mystery for three weeks now," he said.
"We owe it to everyone to do whatever we reasonably can and we can keep searching for quite some time to come and we will keep searching for quite some time. If anything, the intensity of the search and magnitude of the operation is increasing not decreasing."
"If nothing of substance is found, obviously such a point (where we stop searching) is eventually reached, but we are well short of that point. If this mystery is solvable, we will solve it".
The comments from Australian PM came amid growing concerns that Malaysia may be capable of conducting the investigation by itself. Australia, Britain, and the United States are pushing for a leading role in the search for the missing plane.
They are also asking Malaysia to consent that if the missing plane's Black Box is recovered, its contents would be investigated by experts from the US, Britain and Australia. The request, however, may not go down too well with Malaysia as it faces increasing pressure to prove that it has done enough to resolve this crisis.
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