Top Shows

Contact ONE News

NZ Air Force has 'emotional investment' in MH370 search

Published: 5:44AM Wednesday March 26, 2014 Source: ONE News/ AP

New Zealand's crew searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner say they are more determined than ever to find the 777 after it was revealed that the plane ended its journey in the southern Indian Ocean.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced on Tuesday that a new analysis of satellite data confirmed the plane had crashed in a remote part of the ocean, killing all 239 on board.

Blustery conditions in the southern Indian Ocean which saw the search and recovery mission called off yesterday have eased this morning, meaning searchers will again face the daunting task of combing a vast area of choppy seas for suspected wreckage from the plane.

The search area has now been reduced as a result of the new data to 1.6 million square kilometres (622,000 square miles), a massive expanse of ocean, but just 20% of the area that was previously being searched.

The Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) have begun making their way to the search area, and RNZAF Pilot Flight Lieutenant Dave Smith says now that they know that there is definitely something to find in that area that motivates him more.

"We've got an emotional investment in this. We've been going at this for 105 flying hours just this crew alone and we're keen to keep on going," he told ONE News Australia Correspondent Steve Marshall. Marshall is on board the eleven hour round trip today and says they hope to return to base with clues as to what happened to the missing plane.

Flight Lieutenant Smith says the crew have huge empathy for the families of the passengers who were on board the 777.

Acting Chief of Air Force Air Commodore Mike Yardley told TV ONE's Breakfast there will still be reasonable high sea states today, but said the crew was confident they would still be able to conduct a thorough search. He said the crew will be swapped on Friday with a new crew.

Simon Martelli says it has been "very disappointing" and "hard" for the crew when they try to follow new leads and then return empty handed.

Australian and Chinese search planes spotted floating objects in an area 2,500 kilometres (1,550 miles) southwest of Perth on Sunday, but none was retrieved. Now, with the 24-hour delay in the search, those objects and other possible debris from the plane could drift to an even wider area.

"We're not searching for a needle in a haystack - we're still trying to define where the haystack is," Australia's Vice Chief of the Defence Force, Air Marshal Mark Binskin, told reporters at a military base in Perth as idled planes stood behind him.

Malaysian Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said the data is still being analysed "to attempt to determine the final position of the aircraft" and that an international working group of satellite and aircraft performance experts had been set up.

Several countries have begun moving specialised equipment into the area to prepare for a search for the plane and its black boxes, the common name for the cockpit voice and data recorders, needed to help determine what happened to the jetliner.