Flight MH370: Tony Abbott Pledges to Continue Search Despite 'Immense' Challenges
By Reissa Su | March 31, 2014 10:24 PM EST
A woman places a lighted candle on a poster with messages expressing hope for passengers of the missing Malaysia Airlines plane MH370 during a candlelight vigil in Petaling Jaya, near Kuala Lumpur on 16 March, 2014.
As the hunt for debris traces continued until March 31, Abbott told media reporters at the Pearce Air Force Base, Western Australia, that the search efforts for the lost Malaysian plane in the Indian Ocean has been "extraordinarily difficult" but the country never considered giving up.
He assured the media that Australia will keep on searching for any signs of Flight MH370 for "quite some time to come." The prime minister said he did not want to underestimate the challenges of the search but if there was a mystery involved, Australia "will solve it."
The international search effort for the missing plane had intensified, according to reports. Ten ships and 10 planes were set to scour the seas in the new search area located 1,100 miles west of Perth.
Defense Minister of Australia David Johnston said about 1,000 navy personnel and 100 air crew will be looking for possible debris of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.
In the new search area, crew members hope for better luck as bad weather had hampered search operations in the previous search zone. Those searching the missing plane were forced to stop operations for the second time in a week due to bad weather.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) previously said the probing in the area, which is some 2,500 kilometers southwest of Perth, is expected to worsen.
Satellite images from France, China and Australia showed possible debris floating in the southern Indian Ocean where the plane was suspected to have crashed with no survivors. Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 carrying 239 people on board went missing on March 8 shortly after its take off from Kuala Lumpur. The Boeing 777 jet was on its way to Beijing.
After hearing the Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak's statement regarding the last location of the missing plane somewhere in the remote area of the southern Indian Ocean, grieving family members and relatives have been demanding an exodus to Australia as a closer venue to the searching efforts.
Abbott had waived the family members' visa fees and welcomed them to Australia with open arms.
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