The search for the Malaysian airliner that disappeared 18 days ago resumed on Wednesday in the southern Indian Ocean, looking for debris that may unlock the mystery of why the plane ended up in frigid seas thousands of miles off course.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott vowed his country will do "all it can" to recover Malaysia Airlines flight and bring closure to the families of the victims.
Prime Minister Abbott says authorities are "throwing everything we have" at the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
"I have pledged to Prime Minister Najib Razak of Malaysia full Australian cooperation in the recovery and investigation operation. The crash zone is as close to nowhere as it\’s possible to be, but it\’s closer to Australia than anywhere else," said Abbott.
Abbott joined the Australian parliament in a moment of silence for the 239 people on board the plane, who are presumed dead.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (Amsa) says 12 aircraft are taking part in Wednesday\’s operations.
Malaysian officials said satellite data shows the plane almost certainly crashed, though no debris has been located and confirmed.
The area being searched for the plane has narrowed, but is still, at around 1.6 million square kilometers, almost unfathomably large.
Australian officials said Wednesday\’s search will focus on a zone 80,000 square kilometers. Ships from countries including the U.S., China, and Australia are taking part.
Several floating objects have been located in satellite photos or from planes, but have not been identified as debris from the missing Boeing 777.
Meanwhile, China has demanded that Malaysia turn over the satellite data used to conclude that the jetliner had crashed.
Beijing sent Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui as a special envoy to Malaysia to meet with officials, including Prime Minister Najib, on Wednesday.
Two-thirds of the plane\’s passengers were Chinese. Many of their families have refused to accept Malaysia\’s determination that the plane crashed.
On Tuesday, dozens of Chinese relatives staged a protest outside the Malaysian embassy in Beijing to demand more information. Of the 239 people on board flight MH370, 153 were Chinese nationals.
The plane went missing without a distress call on March 8, hours after departing Kuala Lumpur for Beijing.