Malaysian and Australian investigators examined a piece of MH370 aircraft debris found on Pemba Island off the coast of Tanzania in this ATSB file photo.

Australian Government Suspends MH370 Search

The last search vessel on Jan. 17 left the zone where an underwater search has been under way for months.

The Australian government, specifically the Joint Agency Coordination Centre set up in March 2014 to coordinate the government's support for the search for missing flight MH370, announced Jan. 17 that the search has been suspended. Pieces from the missing aircraft have been recovered after washing up on the coasts of some Indian Ocean locations, but the bulk of the plane has not been found.

The last search vessel on Jan. 17 left the zone where an underwater search has been under way for months, a JACC communique dated Jan. 17 reported.

The plane disappeared from air traffic control radar March 8, 2014, after taking off from Kuala Lumpur on a flight to Beijing with 227 passengers and 12 crew on board. Analysis of satellite data indicated the plane went down in the southern Indian Ocean where the search has been taking place.

"Today the last search vessel has left the underwater search area. Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has not been located in the 120,000 square-kilometre underwater search area in the southern Indian Ocean," the communique states. "Despite every effort using the best science available, cutting edge technology, as well as modelling and advice from highly skilled professionals who are the best in their field, unfortunately, the search has not been able to locate the aircraft. Accordingly, the underwater search for MH370 has been suspended.

"The decision to suspend the underwater search has not been taken lightly nor without sadness. It is consistent with decisions made by our three countries in the July 2016 Ministerial Tripartite meeting in Putrajaya Malaysia. Whilst combined scientific studies have continued to refine areas of probability, to date no new information has been discovered to determine the specific location of the aircraft. We have been overwhelmed by the commitment and dedication shown by the hundreds of people involved in the search, which has been an unprecedented challenge. Their tireless work has continued to improve our knowledge of the search area and has been critical in our efforts to locate the aircraft. We would like to reiterate our utmost appreciation to the many nations that have provided expertise and assistance since the early days of this unfortunate tragedy.

"Today's announcement is significant for our three countries, but more importantly for the family and friends of those on board the aircraft. We again take this opportunity to honour the memory of those who have lost their lives and acknowledge the enormous loss felt by their loved ones. We remain hopeful that new information will come to light and that at some point in the future the aircraft will be located."

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