Story by the Associated Press; curated by Dave Urbanski
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia’s prime minister said Monday that the underwater search for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet will be expanded.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott told reporters in Canberra that the U.S. Navy’s Bluefin 21 has finished scouring the initial search area far off the Australian west coast and has not yet found anything.
“It is now 52 days since Malaysia Airlines Fight MH370 disappeared and I’m here to inform you that the search will be entering a new phase,” Abbott said at a news conference.
Radar and satellite data show the jet carrying 239 passengers and crew veered far off course on March 8 for unknown reasons during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Analysis indicates it would have run out of fuel in the remote section of ocean where the search has been focused. Not one piece of debris has been recovered since the massive multinational hunt began.
The Bluefin’s original search area was a circle with a 6-mile radius, 2.8 miles deep around a spot where signals consistent with airplane black boxes were heard on April on April 8.
“I want the families to know, I want the world to know, that Australia will not shirk its responsibilities in this area. We will do everything we humanly can … to solve this mystery,” Abbott said. “We will not let people down and while the search will be moving to a new phase in coming weeks, it certainly is not ending.”
Australian head of the search effort, Angus Houston, said: “We haven’t found anything anywhere that has any connection to MH370.”