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Search Continues for Missing Malaysia Airlines Plane

  • VOA News

The search for wreckage from a missing Malaysia airliner continued Wednesday in the remote waters of the southern Indian Ocean.

Improved weather allowed 12 planes and two ships to return to the area, about 2,500 kilometers southwest of the Australian city of Perth.

Strong winds forced a 24-hour delay of the search on Tuesday.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott vowed his country will do "all it can" to recover Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 and bring closure to the families of the victims.

"I have pledged to Prime Minister Najib Razak of Malaysia full Australian cooperation in the recovery and investigation operation. The crash zone is as close to nowhere as it's possible to be, but it's closer to Australia than anywhere else," said Abbott.

Abbott joined the Australian parliament in a moment of silence for the 239 people on board the plane, who are presumed dead.

Malaysian officials said satellite data shows the plane almost certainly crashed, though no debris has been located and confirmed.

The area being searched for the plane has narrowed, but is still, at around 1.6 million square kilometers, almost unfathomably large.

Australian officials said Wednesday's search will focus on a zone 80,000 square kilometers. Ships from countries including the U.S., China, and Australia are taking part.

Several floating objects have been located in satellite photos or from planes, but have not been identified as debris from the missing Boeing 777.

Meanwhile, China has demanded that Malaysia turn over the satellite data used to conclude that the jetliner had crashed.

Beijing sent Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui as a special envoy to Malaysia to meet with officials, including Prime Minister Najib, on Wednesday.

Two-thirds of the plane's passengers were Chinese. Many of their families have refused to accept Malaysia's determination that the plane crashed.

On Tuesday, dozens of angry Chinese relatives protested outside the Malaysian embassy in Beijing demanding to know the "truth" about the plane.

The plane went missing without a distress call on March 8, hours after departing Kuala Lumpur for Beijing.