Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has held a press conference together with Angus Houston, the head of the Joint Agency Coordination Centre. They announced that the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet will be expanded to include a massive swath of the ocean floor that may take up to eight months to thoroughly search.
Abbott said: “we are moving from the current phase to a phase which is focused on searching the ocean floor over a much larger area.”
JACC head Angus Houston said: “If everything goes perfectly, I would say we will be doing well if we do it in eight months. But then you have issues, potential issues with weather, potential issues with un-serviceability of equipment, witness what’s happened with our Bluefin. There’ve been a number of teething problems with it.”
“We’re still baffled and disappointed that we haven’t been able to find undersea wreckage based on those detections, and this is one of the reasons why we are continuing to deploy the Bluefin-21 submersible,” Abbott said.
Later in the day, China’s Ambassador to Australia Ma Zhaoxu held a joint press conference with Angus Houston. Houston told the Chinese media that current searches have found no traces of the missing aircraft. But he vowed the search will continue and expressed confidence that debris from the plane will be eventually found.
He also indicated that China, Malaysia and Australia will share the search costs, which is expected to reach billions of dollars.