Standing in a rigid hull inflatable boat launched from the
Australian Navy ship HMAS Perth, Leading Seaman,
Boatswain's Mate, William Sharkey searches for possible
debris from the missing aircraft in the southern Indian
Ocean. REUTERS/Australian Defence Force
The effort to find missing flight MH370 is at a "very
critical juncture", Malaysia's transport minister says as
authorities mull whether to reassess a challenging search of
the Indian Ocean seabed that has so far found nothing.
"The search for today and tomorrow is at a very critical
juncture. So I appeal for everybody around the world to pray
and pray hard that we find something to work on," Transport
Minister Hishammuddin Hussein says.
The jet is believed to have crashed in deep and remote waters
far off Western Australia.
But with no results from the multi-national search operation
for the Boeing 777, which vanished on March 8 carrying 239
people, Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Thursday
set a one-week deadline to locate the plane by
The Australian-led search effort is relying on a single US
Navy submersible sonar scanning device to scour an uncharted
seabed at depths of around 4,500 metres or more.
Technical hitches, including the fact that the torpedo-shaped
Bluefin-21 is operating at the extent of its depth limit,
made for a slow start to the search.
Launched from an Australian naval vessel, the device has so
far made six deep-sea scanning runs but has detected nothing.
"We have pursued every possible lead presented to us at this
stage, and with every passing day the search has become more
difficult," Hishammuddin, who is heading up the Malaysian
government's response to MH370, told reporters in Kuala
As the search and rescue effort expected to be the costliest
in aviation history wears on, authorities have indicated
alternative methods may be needed, including possibly
Hishammuddin said adjustments "may include widening the scope
of the search and utilising other assets that could be
relevant in the search operation", but he stressed the search
would not be abandoned.
Earlier on Saturday Australian officials said experts were
analysing data relayed by the underwater drone on its sixth
mission and it had embarked on its seventh.