SYDNEY — Bad weather suspended the search for debris from a lost Malaysian jet Tuesday as attention turned to finding the flight recorder that could solve the riddle of the plane's last hours. The Malaysian government has announced the Boeing 777-200 went down in the southern Indian Ocean with all 239 lives lost. Heavy rain, gale-force winds and low cloud stopped the hunt, said the
Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), which has plotted a search area 2,500 kilometres south-west of Perth.
With no success from the search, dozens of angry relatives of Chinese passengers aboard the ill-fated Malaysia Airlines flight held a protest demanding more information about how their family members died, state media reported. The demonstrators carried banners saying "We want the truth," and "Why have they made us wait so long?" and were heading towards the Malaysian embassy, the reports said.
Australian Defence Minister David Johnston said he expected ships and planes from six nations would be back in the 68,500-square-kilometre search area when the weather improves to try to find more answers about the missing plane. "We just have to deal with this location as best we can," he told reporters in Perth. Johnston said finding the flight recorder quickly was imperative because there were just 13 days of life left in its battery.
The US Navy, which has a P8 Poseidon aircraft in the search fleet, is bringing in an undersea device to help find the so-called black box. Its instruments can identify the characteristic "ping" emitted by the flight recorder from an ocean depth of more than 6,000 metres, the US Defence Department said. "Basically, this super-sensitive hydrophone gets towed behind a commercial vessel very slowly and listens for black box pings," said Navy Commander Chris Budde, US 7th Fleet operations officer. Korean planes were ready to join the search of an area halfway between Australia and Antarctica. China, home to most of the passengers aboard flight MH370, is sending more vessels.
The foul weather dashed hopes that salvage crews aboard Australia's HMAS Success could take aboard any possible wreckage. The latest unidentified debris - "a grey or green circular object and the second an orange rectangular object" - were spotted from an Australian plane Monday. Computer modelling has identified where the plane would have run out of fuel if, as the Malaysians are now certain, it flew southward after doubling back on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
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