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Search for missing plane resumes amid anger from families of passengers

Debris from Malaysian Airlines flilght MH370 may have been picked up in the south Indian Ocean, but families are angry that Malaysian officials have told them so little.

One of the relatives of Chinese passengers aboard missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 waits to attend a briefing meeting with Malaysian officials in a hotel ballroom in Beijing
One of the relatives of Chinese passengers aboard missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 waits to attend a briefing meeting with Malaysian officials in a hotel ballroom in Beijing
Image: Alexander F. Yuan/AP/Press Association Images

AUSTRALIA PREPARED TO resume its search for possible plane wreckage floating in a remote and stormy section of the Indian Ocean, as the vast international hunt for a missing passenger jet entered its 13th day.

Surveillance aircraft on Thursday searched for a pair of floating objects captured by satellite imagery, which Australia and Malaysia guardedly called a “credible” lead in the baffling mystery surrounding missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

The Australian-led search was due to restart at first light, as a Norwegian merchant ship arrived in the target area about 2,500 kilometres (1,500 miles) southwest of Perth, after warnings of poor weather conditions and limited visibility.

Four aircraft suspended their search at nightfall Thursday without any sighting of the possible debris after scouring a 23,000-square-kilometre (8,900-square-mile) area where the grainy images were snapped, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said.

Two planes came from Australia, one from New Zealand and one was a US aircraft, while another merchant ship was en route to join Norway’s Hoegh St Petersburg merchant ship.

The Australian navy’s HMAS Success was also headed for the area, and Britain sent a naval survey ship, HMS Echo.

Australia said the satellite-captured objects — the largest was estimated at 24 metres (79 feet) across — raised hopes of a breakthrough in the Malaysian plane’s mysterious disappearance as relatives of the 239 people aboard braced for another emotional roller-coaster.

“We now have a credible lead,” Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said during Malaysia’s daily briefing on the crisis.

“There remains much work to be done to deploy the assets.”

The objects would have drifted for four days, making them a “logistical nightmare” to locate, said Australian Defence Minister David Johnston.

“We are in a most isolated part of the world. In fact it probably doesn’t get, if I can be so bold, more isolated,” Johnston told Sky News Australia.

He was later quoted as saying it could take “two or three days” before any firm conclusions are made.

Anger

Relatives of Chinese passengers on board MH370 vented their fury in their first meeting in Beijing with Malaysian government officials, almost two weeks after the aircraft vanished.

The event began in angry fashion, with family members yelling at the group of political representatives and senior military officials to stand up when they were being introduced, rather than nodding while sitting down.

“You have wasted so much time,” shouted one anguished relative, his voice quivering.

Chinese citizens make up 153 of those on board Malaysia Airlines flight 370 — two-thirds of the total — and the meeting took place at a hotel where their loved ones have been waiting for news.

© – AFP 2014

Read: Objects in Indian Ocean could be missing Malaysian Airlines plane

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