Last updated: 02:51 PM ET, Thu April 16 2015

Search Area for Missing Flight MH370 to be Doubled

Impacting Travel | Malaysia Airlines | Rich Thomaselli | April 16, 2015

Search Area for Missing Flight MH370 to be Doubled

Senior government officials from Malaysia, Australia and China agreed to expand the current search area for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 up to one more year if the aircraft is not found by next month.

Flight 370 mysteriously disappeared over the Indian Ocean after making an abrupt U-turn last March from its original flight path from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Not a single shred of evidence has been found in the 13 months since.

At a news conference, Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said, "61 percent of the 23,000-square-mile search area off Australia's west coast has been completed. The remaining 39 percent should be completed by the end of May. If the aircraft is not found within the 60,000 square kilometers (23,000 square miles), we have collectively decided to extend the search to another 60,000 square kilometers within the highest probability area."

"We are confident we are searching in the right area," Australian Deputy Prime Minister and transport minister Warren Truss added.

In a joint statement by government ministers from the respective nations, the three countries said they hoped extending the search would provide solace to the families that they are continuing their efforts. The statement read:

“Ministers also acknowledged the grief and sense of loss felt by the families and friends of those lost on board flight MH370. Ministers recognized the importance of the continuous communication to the Next-of-Kin in line with the governments' commitment to keep the families apprised of the latest developments.

“In the event the aircraft is found and accessible, Ministers agreed to plans for recovery activities, including securing all the evidence necessary for the investigation in accordance with the requirements of Annex 13 to the Chicago Convention. Should the aircraft not be found within the current search area, Ministers agreed to extend the search by an additional 60,000 square kilometers to bring the search area to 120,000 square kilometers and thereby cover the entire highest probability area identified by expert analysis.

"Ministers recognize the additional search area may take up to a year to complete, given the adverse weather conditions in the upcoming winter months. Upon completion of the additional 60,000 square kilometers, all high-probability search areas would have been covered.”

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