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Friday, July 22, 2016, 17:35

Search for Flight 370 will be possibly suspended forever

By Associated Press
Search for Flight 370 will be possibly suspended forever
From left to right; Australia's Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester, Malaysia's Minister of Transport Liow Tiong Lai and China's Minister of Transport Yang Chuantang speak on the Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 during a joint press conference in Putrajaya, Malaysia, July 22, 2016. (Photo / AP )

PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia - The hunt for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 will be suspended once the current search area in the Indian Ocean has been completely scoured, the ministers of the three countries conducting the operation announced Friday, possibly ending all hopes of solving aviation's greatest mystery.

"In the absence of new evidence, Malaysia, Australia and China have collectively decided to suspend the search upon completion of the 120,000-square-kilometer (46,300-square-mile) search area", Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said after a meeting with his Australiana and Chinese counterparts.

He said suspension of the search does not mean an end to it.

"Should credible new information emerge which can be used to identify the specific location of the aircraft, consideration will be given in determining next steps," he said, reading out from a joint statement. But it was clear that the searchers have given up hopes of finding the jetliner with less than 10,000 square kilometers (3,900 square miles) left to be searched.

In their statement, the ministers acknowledged that "the likelihood of finding the aircraft is fading."

The Boeing 777 vanished more than two years ago while on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014. It is believed to have turned back west and then south before dropping into the Indian Ocean west of Australia, where the search has been concentrated.

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