SYDNEY • Giant waves and high winds have prevented the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 from continuing during the past month, and the hunt is now not expected to be completed until August, the authorities said yesterday.
Australia is leading the painstaking search for MH370 in the remote Indian Ocean, but the wild weather has not allowed the three ships involved to make any progress in recent weeks.
"The last four weeks saw no search operations," the Australian Transport Safety Bureau said in an update. "It is now anticipated it may take until around August to complete the 120,000 sq km, but this will be influenced by weather conditions, which may worsen."
So far, 105,000 sq km of the designated 120,000 sq km seafloor search zone have been covered without success.
If nothing turns up once the area has been fully scoured, the search will be abandoned, Australia, Malaysia and China - the countries that most of the passengers came from - have jointly said.
The fate of the passenger jet, which is presumed to have crashed at sea after disappearing en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 passengers and crew on board in March 2014, remains a mystery.
Eight pieces of debris have been found and are presumed to have drifted thousands of kilometres from the search zone far off Western Australia's coast. Five of them have been identified as definitely or probably from the Boeing 777.