MH370 Search Efforts Not Affected by MH17 Recovery; Australia Still Committed to Solving Mystery

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By Reissa Su | July 24, 2014 4:22 PM EST

As Malaysia Airlines suffers another blow with the aftermath of the MH17 crash over the Ukraine border, Australia said the latest disaster will not affect the ongoing search operations for the lost MH370.

REUTERS/Maxim Zmeyev
A Malaysian air crash investigator (R) inspects the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, near the village of Rozsypne, Donetsk region, July 22, 2014. A train carrying the remains of many of the 298 victims of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 arrived in a Ukrainian government-held city on Tuesday on the first leg of their final journey home to be reclaimed by their families.

According to reports, underwater surveys continue in the effort to recover plane debris or at least some sign of the lost MH370. The Australian government remains committed to finding the Malaysian jet that disappeared in early March including its passengers.

Angus Houston, head of the MH370 recovery operations, was sent to Ukraine to oversee the retrieval and transport of bodies of the Australian passengers aboard the downed MH17 on July 7.

Reports said Australian deputy prime minister Warren Truss had insisted that the effort to recover the lost MH370 will not be affected with the deployment of Houston to Ukraine. The former defence chief of Australia is expected to be back in Australia after several weeks.

Truss said Australia's commitment to the search for MH370 is "not diminished" by the MH17 disaster. He added that there were things needed to be addressed urgently but the MH370 search will not be interrupted.

The search crew for MH370 is mapping the ocean floor off Australia's western coast before resuming undersea search which is expected to be delayed from August to September. The Malaysian Boeing 777 plane had disappeared while carrying 239 people on board from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing less than five months before the downing of MH17.

Truss said the underwater search is expected to last for a year with Houston's role to be temporarily given to Judith Zielke, a senior Australian official. He reiterated that Australia "owes it to the families" of the people aboard MH370 and the rest of the world to solve the mystery.

Meanwhile, a public memorial service has been held for the 298 victims of MH17 at St Paul's Cathedral in Melbourne. More than 1,200 people attended the service to mourn for the hundreds of lives lost including the 28 Australian passengers.

Families of the Australian passengers who died in the downing of the plane welcomed the support of the community. 

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(Photo: REUTERS/Maxim Zmeyev / )
A Malaysian air crash investigator (R) inspects the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, near the village of Rozsypne, Donetsk region, July 22, 2014. A train carrying the remains of many of the 298 victims of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 arrived in a Ukrainian government-held city on Tuesday on the first leg of their final journey home to be reclaimed by their families.
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