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‘As long as it takes’ Australia pledges in hunt for MAS jet

March 18, 2014 Aviation, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59Australia is taking charge of the search in the Indian Ocean for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 – and the search make take weeks.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott told Parliament yesterday that Australia would co-ordinate operations in that region.

Abbott has said he had no information that the missing flight may have come close to Australia, but he conceded the incident was “deeply mysterious”.

When Australia’s Defence Minister, David Johnston, was asked yesterday on ABC’s The World Today how long the search might 250x250take, he said: “I think we are locked in to do what we can to assist the Malaysians as best we can for as long as it takes. But, you know, that doesn’t mean we will be there for the next 12 months but nevertheless we’ve got to really make a big effort in these next two or three weeks, certainly, to get to the bottom of what has happened here.”

The Indian Ocean lies on one of two “vectors”, or flight path combinations, that authorities consider the plane is likely to have followed. If the flight headed southwest, it would have approached or entered Australia’s search and rescue zone, which stretches westward about halfway across the Indian Ocean towards Africa.

Abbott said he spoke with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak earlier this week and was asked to take over the Indian Ocean search.

”I agreed that we would do so. I offered the Malaysian Prime Minister additional maritime surveillance resources which he gratefully accepted.”

Australia will send one of its two AP-3C Orion aircraft involved in the search to remote islands in the Indian Ocean. The plane will search the north and west of the Cocos Islands, a remote Australian territory with an airstrip about 1200 kilometres southwest of Indonesia, Defence Force chief General David Hurley said.

”I wish to assure the House and … the Australian people that Australia will do its duty in this matter,” Abbott told Parliament.

”We will do our duty to ensure that our search and rescue responsibilities are maintained and upheld and we will do our duty to the families of the 230 people on that aircraft who are still absolutely devastated by their absence and who are still profoundly, profoundly saddened by this as yet unfathomed mystery.”

Written by : Peter Needham

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