Cyclone halts MH370 search after 20 ships and aircraft are enlisted to help

Search coordinators may have to reassess search area after American submarine finds no evidence of wreckage

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The search for Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 has had to be suspended, after a Tropical Cyclone hit the area in which searches were taking place.

The announcement that the storm, Cyclone Jack, would halt Tuesday’s search, came hours after authorities had announced that 10 military aircraft and 10 ships would be helping with Tuesday’s search efforts.

The searches that are taking place in an area about 990 miles northwest of the coast of Perth, were  stopped for the day, after those coordinating the search said the cyclone would lead to poor visibility and potentially dangerous conditions for searchers.

“It has been determined that the current weather conditions are resulting in heavy seas and poor visibility, and would make any air search activities ineffective and potentially hazardous,” the Joint Agency Coordination Centre said.

Only four planes were able to set off, but the poor conditions meant any chance of finding evidence of the missing plane were small.

The setback occurred on the day that $4 million US Navy drone submarine, Bluefin-21, neared the end of its search mission.

It was announced by those that controlled the drone that it could complete its scaling of the unmapped 1,2000 mile stretch of open ocean as soon as Wednesday.

Death certificates for passengers could signal start of lawsuits

Despite having covered over two thirds of the plotted area already, the drone is still yet to produce any evidence that the plane had crashed in the area.

It was felt that the Bluefin-21 would be the most promising aid in the search for the plane that went missing nearly seven weeks ago. However, if by the end of its mission, the U.S submarine has not found any evidence of wreckage it would lead to authorities having to decide on what course of action to take next.

With no wreckage being found, and the only evidence of the plane having crashed in the current search area being recorded pings believed to be from the plane’s black box, search organisers may have to re-evaluate the situation and decide on where next to direct their operations.

Earlier, families of the passengers of the Malaysian flight MH370 reacted angrily to the Malaysian authority’s offer of compensation.

In a statement released after the discussions the families’ of the survivors said: until “at least a tiny bit of concrete evidence" that the plane crashed is found, authorities should not try to settle the case with final pay-offs.

"No meaningful report on the progress of the investigation was given" at the meeting, the relatives said, adding that "not a single one" of their questions was answered.