MH370 search operation cancellation disappoints former PM Tony Abott

By @mik_mapa on
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The shadow of a Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) P3 Orion maritime search aircraft can be seen on low-level clouds as it flies over the southern Indian Ocean looking for missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 March 31, 2014. Reuters/Rob Griffith/Pool/File Photo

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott has expressed his disappointment for the cancellation of MH370 search operation. In 2014, he said that their team was confident about the position of the black box flight recorder. However, on Tuesday, Australian Transport Minister Darren Chester confirmed that the search for the missing aircraft had to be called off. 

Chester said that the reason for cancelling the search operation was the absence of specific and credible information of the aircraft's exact location. The Joint Agency Coordination Centre in Australia, which handled the search operation, has swept the 120,000 square kilometre search zone before ending the operation. However, debris drift analysis and satellite imagery analysis would still continue until the end of next month.

Relatives of the victims were also disappointed about the cancellation of the search operation. The husband of the plane crash victim said that it was mind-boggling that authorities would not search the northern part of the current search location where the plane was suspected to have had crashed. 

The transport minister said that budget was not a deciding factor for Malaysia, Australia and China. The total cost that has been spent was $200 million where Malaysia had the highest contribution. The Australian government also gave its contribution with the total amount of $60 million. 

Chester said that they need to provide credible new evidence that would lead to the specific location of the aircraft. He said that they do not want to give false hopes to the families of the victims. 

Currently, the agency has three items of debris that were positively identified as part of the lost Boeing 777. The modelling of the debris indicated that the team was searching in the right vicinity. However, Chester said, although it is possible to find a new area to search, no one was telling him about the plane's location.

Meanwhile, Australian Transport Safety Bureau chief commissioner Greg Hood paid tribute to his team for their professionalism, dedication, compassion and optimism.