Dangerous weather stops Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 hunt

Mar 25 2014, 11:20 IST
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About two-thirds of the passengers on board were Chinese. About two-thirds of the passengers on board were Chinese.
SummaryPlanes and ships have been crisscrossing a remote area of Indian Ocean for Malaysian Airlines plane, but the search was called off...

Bad weather suspended the search Tuesday for any remains of a Malaysian Airlines jetliner as China demanded information a day after Malaysia's leader said the heartbreaking conclusion was that Flight MH 370 had crashed in the southern Indian Ocean with no survivors.

Planes and ships have been crisscrossing a remote area of ocean 2,500 kilometers (1,550 miles) southwest of Australia, but the search was called off because of waves up to 4 meters (12 feet), high winds and heavy rain.

The suspension comes after a somber announcement late Monday by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak saying the plane had crashed in the sea, but which also left unanswered many troubling questions about why the Boeing 777, which was en route to Beijing on March 8 when it disappeared, was so far off-course.

It also unleashed a storm of sorrow and anger among the families of the jet's 239 passengers and crew _ two-thirds of them Chinese.

China responded Tuesday by demanding that Malaysia turn over the satellite data used to conclude that the jet had gone down in the southern Indian Ocean.

Given that 153 of the passengers aboard Flight 370 were Chinese, the incident was a highly emotional one for Beijing. Family members of the missing passengers have complained bitterly about a lack of reliable information and some say they are not being told the whole truth.

Deputy Foreign Minister Xie Hangsheng told Malaysia's ambassador to Beijing that China wanted to know exactly what led Najib to announce that the plane had been lost, a statement on the ministry's website said.

"We demand the Malaysian side to make clear the specific basis on which they come to this judgment,'' Xie was quoted as telling Iskandar Bin Sarudin during their meeting late Monday.

There was no immediate response from Malaysia.

The families planned to march on the Malaysian Embassy on Tuesday, and dozens of police were already outside the embassy compound.

Najib, clad in a black suit, read a brief statement on what he called an unparalleled study of the jet's last-known signals to a satellite. That analysis showed that the missing plane veered ``to a remote location, far from any possible landing sites.''

"It is therefore with deep sadness and regret that I must inform you that, according to this new data, Flight MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean,'' he said.

He did not directly address the fate of those aboard, but in a separate message

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