Officials to likely ‘reconsider’ missing plane search

Malaysia officials said over the weekend that they are likely to reconsider their search for an airplane that has been missing for six weeks. 

The plane, Malaysia Air’s Flight 370, was last seen by air traffic controllers on March 8. 

Malaysia’s acting Minister of Transport Hishammuddin Hussein said in a news conference this weekend that the intense searching for the missing airplane, which has been fruitless thus far, might need to be reassessed soon. 

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“As Prime Minister Abbott stated earlier this week, and I quote, ‘We will regroup and reconsider the SAR operations, if there are no new updates in the given time,’ end quote,” Hishammuddin said. “I have to stress that this is not to stop operations but to also consider other approaches which may include widening the scope of the search and utilizing other assets that could be relevant in the search operation.” 

Officials from multiple nations have been searching the southern Indian Ocean for the missing Malaysia Air plane for more than a month. The plane was a Boeing 737 that was carrying 239 passengers, when it disappeared from radar detection about an hour into its flight from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing. 

The disappearance of the large jetliner without a trace has mystified aviation officials in the U.S. and internationally. 

Investigators initially believed the plane had crashed into the Gulf of Thailand, where it was scheduled to be flying on its path to Beijing. The search later turned to the southern Indian Ocean after officials from multiple nations found pictures of debris in satellite images that they believed to be related to the plane’s disappearance. 

Hishammuddin noted that it has been more than 40 days since the search for the missing flight began. 

“It has been six weeks since we started the operation in which we have continuously refined the search area in the quest to locate the missing aircraft,” he said. “We have pursued every possible lead presented to us at this stage and with every passing day, the search has become more difficult.” 

The Malaysian transport minister said the country would never give up trying to determine what happened to Flight 370, even if it stops searching the waters of the Indian Ocean. 

“The search will always continue,” he said. “It is just a matter of approach. All efforts will intensified for the next few days with regards to the underwater search.”