News World Governments may end search for MH370

Governments may end search for MH370

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The governments of Australia, Malaysia and China will meet in Kuala Lumpur later this month to discuss the future of the search for Flight MH370.

The governments had previously agreed that in the absence of credible new information, the hunt for the missing jetliner would wind up once the current 120,000sq km zone in the southern Indian Ocean was scoured.

• Possible MH370 debris found
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Following on from talks between senior aviation officials last month, a final ministerial-level meeting was planned for after Australia’s July 2 federal election, but the government remains in caretaker mode as counting continues.

Transport Minister Darren Chester said the meeting was going ahead on July 18 and 19.

“I will be attending on the behalf of the Australian government,” Mr Chester told AAP.

“In accordance with caretaker convention procedures, the opposition will be provided the appropriate briefings in the lead-up to the meeting.”

A part from missing flight MH370 found in July 2015. Photo: AAP.
A part from missing flight MH370 found in July 2015. Photo: AAP.

A network of families of passengers dubbed Voice370 says relatives are growing distressed by the prospect the search may be called off if funds dry up, insisting it must go on.

The former chief commissioner of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, Martin Dolan, who oversaw the MH370 search until his recent retirement, told News Ltd he would like to see the search continue and would feel regretful if the plane was never found, but acknowledged resources were limited and might run out.

The search is in its final stages, with some 10,000sq km remaining to be combed.

The task was expected to be completed by August but poor weather has hampered efforts.

Also hindering progress has been an engineering problem on one of three search vessels, which has had to return to Fremantle port in Western Australia for maintenance.

Another vessel was expected to arrive in the search area on Wednesday after taking an injured crew member to the port.

The Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) said progress had been slow since winter began.

“Ongoing poor weather conditions have severely impacted search operations and resulted in delays to search operations of around six to eight weeks,” the JACC said on Wednesday.

“In the event of further poor weather, or delays as a result of unforeseeable problems such as equipment failure or crew incapacity, searching the entire 120,000-square-kilometre search area may continue well beyond the winter months.”

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