Wild weather suspends search for crashed Malaysia jet

Wild weather suspends search for crashed Malaysia jet
A view of the bad weather and visibility from a low flying RAAF AP-3C Orion aircraft whilst searching for missing Malaysia Airways flight MH370 over the Indian Ocean.

PERTH, Australia - Wild weather halted the search Tuesday for wreckage from the Malaysia Airlines jet that crashed into the Indian Ocean, frustrating attempts to determine why it veered off course and bring closure to grieving relatives.

The air and sea mission for MH370 was suspended for the day due to gale force winds, driving rain and huge waves, said the Australian Maritime Safety Authority which is coordinating the multinational hunt southwest of Perth.

It was another body blow for relatives, whose hopes were extinguished Monday when a sombre Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said new analysis of satellite data placed the flight's last position "far from any possible landing sites."

"It is therefore with deep sadness and regret that I must inform you that, according to this new data, flight MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean," Najib said.

The plane went missing on March 8 with 239 people aboard - two thirds of them Chinese - dropping off air traffic control screens in what has become one of the biggest mysteries in aviation history.

News that the plane was lost with no survivors, far from its intended route between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing, touched off deep despair among relatives in both cities who had endured an agonising 17-day wait.

"What can I say? I had the belief that my son would return home safely. But what can be done?" asked Subramaniam Gurusamy, whose 34-year-old son was on board.

"This is fate. We must accept it," he said, his voice choking with emotion.

In Beijing, family members who had gathered in a hotel ballroom were crushed by the announcement. Many sobbed uncontrollably, while others collapsed and were taken away on stretchers.

Some lashed out at reporters, and a group of 30 Chinese relatives later vented their anger, decrying Malaysian authorities as "murderers".

The national carrier said arrangements would be made to take relatives to the "recovery area", likely Perth from where the Indian Ocean search is being coordinated.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said they would be warmly welcomed in their "desperately difficult time" should they choose to make the trip.

With detailed information still scarce, China's deputy foreign minister has demanded Malaysia hand over the satellite data that led to the announcement the plane was lost at sea.

"We demand the Malaysian side to state the detailed evidence that leads them to this judgement," Xie Hangsheng told Malaysia's Ambassador to China, Iskandar Bin Sarudin, according to a foreign ministry statement.

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