KUALA LUMPUR, March 27 – Another day has been lost in the search for a missing Malaysian airliner that entered its 20th day today due to bad weather in the southern Indian Ocean where the Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flight MH370 is believed to have gone down. The operation that started early today, involving 11 aircraft and five ships to look for the Boeing 777-200ER aircraft in the treacherous waters, was suspended when the weather conditions deteriorated as the day progressed.
“Today’s search operations have been suspended due to bad weather. All planes are returning to Perth and ships are leaving the search area,” tweeted the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA). Earlier, AMSA said in a statement that the search was split into two areas within the same proximity covering a cumulative area of 78,000 sq km.
Flight MH370, carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew, left the KL International Airport at 12.41 am on March 8 and disappeared from radar screens about an hour later while over the South China Sea. It was to have landed in Beijing at 6.30 am on the same day. A multinational search was mounted for the aircraft, first in the South China Sea and then over a large tract of land and sea west of Malaysia, including the Indian Ocean, when it was learned that the plane had veered off far from its original course.
Following an unprecedented analysis method using satellite data, satellite company Inmarsat and Britain’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) concluded that Flight MH370 flew along the southern corridor and that its last position was in the middle of the Indian Ocean, west of Perth, Australia. Based on that information, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced last Monday that Flight MH370 “ended in the southern Indian Ocean”.