Future of MH370 search to be decided in July

Ministerial-level meeting to decide whether to continue search for Malaysia Airlines flight missing since March 2014

Future of MH370 search to be decided in July

World Bulletin / News Desk

Malaysia announced Tuesday that a definitive decision on whether to continue the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 will be determined next month during a ministerial-level meeting with China and Australia.

Deputy Transport Minister Aziz Kaprawi told reporters that “special officials” attending a two-day tripartite meeting hosted in Kuala Lumpur had decided to forward their recommendations to the ministerial-level gathering slated for July in the Malaysian capital.

He said Australia - whose agencies are leading the search for the aircraft that vanished March 8, 2014 - is expected to extend the operations timeline due to suspensions caused by rough weather and sea conditions.

"The search is now almost complete and was expected to end this month. However, it may be extended because the sea is a little choppy," Kaprawi said.

"Australia has informed us that they need a bit more time to complete the search area of 120,000 square kilometers [46,332 square miles]."

The special tripartite meeting on MH370 held at the transport ministry will end today, with no official statement expected to be issued.

The objective of the meeting had been to discuss the direction of future search operations and to study in detail important issues relating to MH370, including the discovery of aircraft fragments.

To-date, Malaysian and Australian authorities have confirmed that at least five pieces of debris found in Mozambique and South Africa and islands off eastern Africa.

An area of more than 105,000 square kilometers has been scoured during the most intensive search in commercial aviation history.

The search and rescue mission - which began immediately after the flight went missing with 239 passengers and crew members on board - involved some 160 assets inclusive of 65 aircraft and 95 vessels as well as experts from 25 countries.

After 10 months of intensive undersea search for the vanished flight, on Jan. 29, 2015 Malaysia declared that MH370 was lost in an accident, killing all passengers.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 21 Haziran 2016, 13:30