Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott admitted the search strategy
may change if seabed scans taken by a U.S. Navy drone failed to turn
up a trace of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, which vanished on
March 8 with 239 people on board.
"We may well re-think the search but we will not rest until we have
done everything we can to solve this mystery," he said.
"The only way we can get to the bottom of this is to keep searching
the probable impact zone until we find something or until we have
searched it as thoroughly as human ingenuity allows at this time."
The Bluefin-21 drone, a key component in the search after the
detection of audio signals or "pings" believed to be from the
plane's black box flight recorder, is due to end its first full
mission, possibly on Wednesday.
The Australian and Malaysian governments are under growing pressure
to show what lengths they are prepared to go to in order to give
closure to the grieving families of those on board flight MH370.
In a sign of the families' growing desperation for answers, a group
purporting to be relatives of the missing flight's passengers
published a letter to Malaysian Defence Minister Hishammuddin
Hussein, urging the government to investigate old media reports that
the plane landed in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
"It is high time that the government should start thinking out of
the box by exploring and re-examining all leads, new and old," said
the letter, published on Facebook on Wednesday.
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Authorities suspended the air search for the second day in a row on
Wednesday due to heavy rain, low cloud and big seas.
"Current weather conditions are resulting in heavy seas and poor
visibility and are making air search activities ineffective and
potentially hazardous," the Joint Agency Coordination Centre said in
a statement, adding 12 ships would continue to help with the
Meanwhile, the Bluefin-21 was nearing the end of its first
assignment scouring a 10 square kilometers (6.2 square mile) stretch
of seabed where authorities traced what they believed was a black
box signal two weeks ago.
Search officials have said that once the Bluefin-21's current
mission, some 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles) north west of the
Australian city of Perth, is finished, they will redeploy the
submarine to other areas yet to be determined.
(Additional reporting Matt Siegel in Sydney;
editing by Michael
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