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Australia says no time limit on hunt for Malaysian jet

PERTH, Australia - Australian premier Tony Abbott said Monday there was no time limit on the search for MH370 and that the world deserved to know what happened, as a ship equipped to locate the "black box" prepared to set sail.

The hunt for physical evidence that the Malaysia Airlines jet carrying 239 people crashed in the Indian Ocean more than three weeks ago has so far proved fruitless despite a massive operation involving seven countries.

Hopes raised by sightings of debris have repeatedly been crushed as the objects turned out to be random sea junk such as fishing gear.

Aircraft spotted more items on Sunday, with several retrieved by Australia’s HMAS Success and China’s Haixun 01, but the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said: "Nothing has yet been verified as being from MH370."

Experts warn that surface debris must be found first to narrow down the search zone for the US-supplied black box detector to be effective.

As the search resumed Monday across an expanse of ocean the size of Norway, Abbott said the hunt would continue as long as necessary to provide answers for frustrated relatives of those on board.

"I’m certainly not putting a time limit on it... we can keep searching for quite some time to come. The intensity of our search and the magnitude of our search is increasing not decreasing," he told reporters at the Perth military base coordinating the operation.

"We owe it to the families, we owe it to everyone that travels by air, we owe it to the anxious governments of the countries who had people on that aircraft. We owe it to the wider world which has been transfixed by this mystery for three weeks now."

AFP


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