Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 may indeed have crashed into the Indian Ocean, as Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced Monday morning, but the Chinese government isn’t satisfied.
China demanded Monday that Malaysian officials hand over all the hard evidence they’ve found to support the conclusion that Flight MH370 ditched in remote waters about 1,500 miles off the coast of Australia, killing all 239 people on board — including 154 Chinese and Taiwnese nationals.
Hazardous Weather Forces Halt To Search Tuesday
The search for wreckage from Flight MH370 was supposed to resume Tuesday morning local time — Monday evening U.S. Eastern Time — but a gale-force storm at sea forced searchers to stay home, where they will hope weather clears up by Wednesday. Torrential rain accompanied by 50 mph winds and sea swells up to 12 feet made the search impossible Tuesday.
“Current weather conditions would make any air and sea search activities hazardous and pose a risk to crew,” the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said in a statement.
Australia Hands Off Responsibility For Investigation To Malaysia
Australia, which had been leading the search effort since satellite data appeared to show wreckage in the Indian Ocean 1,500 miles southwest of Perth, turned the investigation into the Flight MH370 disappearance back over to the Malaysian government, after Malaysia said it had confirmed the plane had crashed.
“The announcement by the Prime Minster that Malaysia believes that the aircraft is lost and that there will be no survivors does move the search to a new phase,” said Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss. “We are now investigating an accident, a loss of an aircraft and some new decisions will have to be taken now about the direction of future operations. Malaysia needs to take control under the Chicago convention of those investigations.”
But Truss said that the possibility that a criminal act on board Flight MH370 caused the crash is still on the table.
Chinese Official Demands To See Evidence For Indian Ocean Crash
After the Malaysia announcement, Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Xie Hangsheng demanded that the Malaysian government turn over whatever evidence it has.
The Malaysian Prime Minister said earlier that the conclusion was based on a previously unavailable, sophisticated analysis of satellite information which showed the last location of Flight MH370 over the Indian Ocean southwest of Perth, the same region where several satellite images have appeared to show debris in the water.
But searchers have found no such debris and beyond the new satellite analysis, no other clues about the fate of Flight MH370 have been made public.