Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 Moved into a Recovery Phase
Prime Minister Abbott has declared that the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has moved into a recovery and investigation operation based on mounting evidence the plance crashed in the southern Indian Ocean.
Addressing the Federal Parliament on Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Abbott also announced that the government would waive visa fees for families of the plane’s passengers should they want to come to Australia.
And he called on the Parliament to consider a condolence motion on Wednesday.
Mr. Abbott said many relatives of the 239 passengers and crew on board would likely want to come to Australia in the coming days.
Handing the Reins to Malaysia
Earlier, Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss said the Malaysian government would take over the investigation for the lost flight as bad weather hampers effort to recover any wreckage.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said on Tuesday that HMAS Success had left the search areas because of rough seas.
It will head south until the seas – with waves up to two metres and swell up for four metres – abate. The search area is also forecast to experience strong gale force winds of up to 80km/h, periods of heavy rain, and low cloud with a ceiling between 200 and 500 feet, AMSA said.
“Search operations are expected to resume tomorrow, if weather conditions permit,” AMSA said.
Mr. Truss said Australia stood ready to assist, but sophisticated underwater equipment would most likely have to be supplied by the United States.
He said a criminal investigation still had not been ruled out.
“Malaysia needs to take control under the Chicago Convention of those investigations.”
‘We’ll need assistance from countries like the US’
Mr. Truss said that HMAS Success had been in the area of ocean where sightings potentially related to the crashed aircraft had been made but officers had not recovered a single piece that might be associated with the aircraft.
He said the Malaysian government’s announcement was based purely on the satellite imagery and calculations available, so it’s really a long, long way away before much can be done by way of physical examination.
It’s still important to try and find as much of the aircraft as possible, the ideal would be to locate as much of the wreckage as possible, in which will require sophisticated equipment, some of which aren’t accessible in Australia. It’s also a priority to recover the flight box recorder (Black Box) on the aircraft.
The Deputy Prime Minister said that he expected several countries would want to be involved in the investigation, including the US.
He said if it was determined that there had been some kind of deliberate intervention on the plane there would need to be a criminal investigation.