Australian PM: It was his duty to make that conclusion public

Australian PM: It was his duty to make that conclusion public
Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott meets South Korea's Navy personnel in front of a Royal Australian Air Force AP-3C Orion aircraft at RAAF Base Pearce near Perth March 31, 2014.

PERTH - Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott backed Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak when the Malaysian Prime Minister announced that Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 was lost in the remote Indian Ocean.

Many relatives of those on board have been incensed at the announcement on March 24 by Najib that - based on detailed analysis of satellite data - the plane could be presumed lost at sea.

"That's the absolutely overwhelming wave of evidence and I think that Najib was perfectly entitled to come to that conclusion and I think once that conclusion had been arrived at, it was his duty to make that conclusion public," Abbott said yesterday.

The flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing vanished on March 8 carrying 239 passengers and crew, but more than three weeks later, no wreckage has been found.

But Abbott said he agreed with Najib's conclusions.

"The accumulation of evidence is that the aircraft has been lost and it has been lost somewhere in the south of the Indian Ocean," he said at the Perth military base coordinating the search.

Australia is coordinating the international hunt for the missing Boeing 777.

"This is an extraordinarily difficult exercise. We are searching a vast area of ocean and we are working on quite limited information," Abbott said.

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