clear
Tuesday May 24th, 2016 7:54PM

Australia says no time limit on Flight 370 search

By The Associated Press
PERTH, Australia (AP) - Although it has been slow, difficult and frustrating so far, the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet is nowhere near the point of being scaled back, Australia's prime minister pledged Monday.

The three-week hunt for Flight 370 has turned up no sign of the Boeing 777, which vanished March 8 with 239 people bound for Beijing from Kuala Lumpur. Ten planes and 11 ships found no sign of the missing plane in the search zone in the southern Indian Ocean, about 1,850 kilometers (1,150 miles) west of Australia, officials said.

The search area has evolved as experts analyzed Flight 370's limited radar and satellite data, moving from the seas off Vietnam, to the waters west of Malaysia and Indonesia, and then to several areas west of Australia. The search zone is now 254,000 square kilometers (98,000 square miles), about a 2.5-hour flight from Perth.

Items recovered so far were discovered to be flotsam unrelated to the Malaysian plane. Several orange-colored objects spotted by plane Sunday turned out to be fishing equipment.

Those leading the effort remain undaunted, with Prime Minister Tony Abbott saying officials are ``well, well short'' of any point where they would scale back the hunt. In fact, he said the intensity and magnitude of operations ``is increasing, not decreasing.''

``I'm certainly not putting a time limit on it. ... We can keep searching for quite some time to come,'' Abbott said at RAAF Pearce, the Perth military base coordinating the operation.

``We owe it to the families, we owe it to everyone that travels by air. We owe it to the anxious governments of the countries who had people on that aircraft. We owe it to the wider world which has been transfixed by this mystery for three weeks now,'' he said.

``If this mystery is solvable, we will solve it,'' Abbott said.

On Monday, former Australian defense chief Angus Houston began his role of heading the new Joint Agency Coordination Center, which will oversee communication with international agencies involved in the search.

Houston said Tuesday the plan was for 10 ships and 10 planes to return to the search area, despite deteriorating weather.

``Yesterday's search revealed nothing that was seen or found that had any connection to the Malaysian aircraft,'' Houston told Australia's Seven Network television.

``If we can find any debris anywhere, that will enable the search to be focused much more precisely and the high technology can then come into play,'' he added.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak plans to travel to Perth on Wednesday to see the search operations firsthand.

Abbott called the operation ``an extraordinarily difficult exercise.''

``We are searching a vast area of ocean and we are working on quite limited information,'' he said, noting that the best brains in the world and all the technological mastery is being applied to the task.

The Ocean Shield, an Australian warship carrying a U.S. device that detects ``pings'' from the plane's flight recorders, left Perth on Monday evening for the search zone, a three- to four-day trip. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority, which is coordinating the search, said it conducted sea trials to test the equipment.

Investigators are hoping to first find debris floating on the surface that will help them calculate where the plane went into the water.

In Malaysia, several dozen Chinese relatives of Flight 370 passengers visited a Buddhist temple near Kuala Lumpur to pray for their loved ones. They offered incense, bowed their heads in silence and knelt several times during the prayers.

Buddhist nuns handed out prayer beads to them and said: ``You are not alone. You have the whole world's love, including Malaysia's.''

The family members later expressed their appreciation to the Chinese government and the people of Malaysia and the volunteers who have been assisting them. They bowed in gratitude but said they were still demanding answers.

The comments were seen as a small conciliatory gesture after relatives held an angry protest Sunday at a hotel near Kuala Lumpur, calling on the Malaysian government to apologize for what they called missteps in handling the disaster.
© Copyright 2016 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 1 year ago )
High court to adopt electronic filing of cases
The Supreme Court is belatedly developing an electronic filing system similar to those used in courts around the country, Chief Justice John Roberts said Wednesday in his annual end-of-year report.
7:57PM ( 1 year ago )
Storm brings snow, cold to West for New Year's
A blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the West on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year's.
5:19PM ( 1 year ago )
U.S. News
PHOTO GALLERY: Election day sights around Hall County, North Georgia
Check out a few photos from our news coverage area for the May 24, 2016 General Primary election.
10:00PM ( 2 hours from now )
Atlanta selected to host Super Bowl thanks in large part to stadium investment
The NFL awarded Super Bowls to Atlanta, Miami and Los Angeles, three cities that made significant financial investments in new stadiums or recently upgraded an existing one.
By The Associated Press
4:21PM ( 3 hours ago )
Unicoi offering aerial adventure park beginning Thursday
Just in time for summer, Unicoi State Park and Lodge has rolled out its new aerial adventure park.
3:03PM ( 4 hours ago )
Self-control urged, as ballot selfies are banned in Georgia
​State election officials are taking to social media, warning Georgia voters to resist the urge to snap photos, or ``selfies,'' inside voting booths.
1:24PM ( 6 hours ago )
NGMC Braselton President gives first year recap
Northeast Georgia Medical Center Braselton President Anthony Williamson said he would speak loudly in order to compete with the noise of construction crews outside the windows behind him. That sort of challenge expresses in a nutshell the story of the new hospital’s burgeoning inaugural year.
11:15AM ( 8 hours ago )