|(Flight MH370) 27 days on, Malaysia promises closure ‘in due time’; Australia says no guarantees
Malaysia's prime minister said today the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 would continue.
The search for the plane ended its 27th day today. So far it has drawn a blank amid many false leads. Some were deemed “credible,’’ by both Malaysia and Australia.
Prime Minister Najib Razak (Pictured having breakfast with Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott) landed early today in the Australian air force base in the west coast city of Perth serving as the hub for multinational search, AP reports.
He met with Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, at the base and was briefed by Angus Houston, the head of a joint agency coordinating the search.
The Boeing 777 vanished in the early hours of March 8 on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board. Malaysia suspects a “deliberate’’ act in the disappearance. All passengers have been cleared after investigations.
Police are investigating the Malaysian pilots and crew.
“This is one of the most demanding and challenging search and rescue operations, or search and recovery operations, that I have ever seen _ and I think probably one of the most complex operations of this nature that the world has ever seen,'' Houston told Najib and Abbott.
Najib's trip to Perth reinforces the reality that while Australia is coordinating the ocean search, the investigation into the tragedy ultimately remains Malaysia's responsibility.
Najib said Australia had agreed to act as an “accredited representative in the investigation,'' and would be working with Malaysia to draw up a comprehensive agreement on the search.
Najib sounded a hopeful note during his visit.
“We want to provide comfort to the families and we will not rest until answers are indeed found,'' he said. “In due time, we will provide a closure for this event.''
Yesterday, Malaysia’s police chief warned that the investigation may never produce answers.
The chances of finding the plane are growing slimmer.
Even Abbott, who has repeatedly said that he is certain that if any wreckage is out there, it will be found, sounded more cautious today.
“I am confident that everything that possibly can be done to find this aircraft will be done,'' Abbott said. “We cannot be certain of success, but we can be certain of the professionalism and the effort that will be brought to the task.''
Najib said during a press conference today that despite the challenges, “a new refined area of search has given us hope.'' It was not immediately clear if he was speaking specifically of today's search zone _ a 223,000 square kilometer patch of ocean, 1,680 kilometers northwest of Perth _ or referring to the general area crews have been scouring since moving the search zone farther north last week.
He did not take questions during the press conference.
“I know that until we find the plane, many families cannot start to grieve. I cannot imagine what they must be going through,'' Najib said. “But I can promise them that we will not give up.''
The Joint Agency Coordination Center, which oversees the search efforts, said up to eight planes and nine ships were involved in today's search.