Nothing spotted in 10-hour search for vanished airplane, Australia says
For relatives of the people aboard the plane — 154 of the 227 passengers are Chinese — hope was slipping away, said Nan Jinyan, sister-in-law of passenger Yan Ling.
"I'm psychologically prepared for the worst and I know the chances of them coming back alive are extremely small," said Nan, one of dozens of relatives gathered at a Beijing hotel awaiting any word about their loved ones.
Abbott spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping, whom he described as "devastated."
"It's about the most inaccessible spot that you could imagine on the face of the Earth, but if there is anything down there we will find it," Abbott said.
"We owe it to the families and the friends and the loved ones of the almost 240 people on Flight MH370 to do everything we can to try to resolve what is as yet an extraordinary riddle." He added.
The Norwegian cargo vessel Hoegh St. Petersburg is also in the area helping with the search.
Haakon Svane, a spokesman for the Norwegian Shipowners' Association, said the ship had searched a strip of ocean stretching about 100 nautical miles (115 miles; 185 kilometers) using binoculars and unaided eyes.
"The visual observations are the most important. The fact that they are there and have the capacity to move in a specific pattern is the most important contribution," he said.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority said another commercial ship also was in the area and an Australian navy vessel was en route. AMSA officials also were checking to see if there was any new satellite imagery that could provide searchers with more information.
Aircraft pieces have been found floating for days after a sea crash. Peter Marosszeky, an aviation expert at the University of New South Wales, said the wing could remain buoyant for weeks if the fuel tanks inside were empty and had not filled with water.
Other experts said that if the aircraft breaks into pieces, normally only items such as seats and luggage would remain floating.
"We seldom see big metal (pieces) floating. You need a lot of (buoyant) material underneath the metal to keep it up," said Lau Kin-tak, an expert in aircraft maintenance and accidents at Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
The anguished relatives of passengers met Friday with Malaysian officials at the Beijing hotel. Attendees said they had a two-hour briefing about the search but that nothing new was said.
Wang Zhen, son of missing artist Wang Linshi, said there were questions about why Malaysian authorities had provided so much seemingly contradictory information.
Wang said he still has hopes his father can be found alive and is praying that the satellite sightings turn out to be false. He said he and other relatives are suspicious about what they are being told by the Malaysian side but are at a loss as to what to do next.
"We feel they're hiding something from us," said Wang, who is filling his days attending briefings and watching the news for updates.
Malaysian authorities have not ruled out any possible explanation for what happened to the jet but have said the evidence so far suggests it was deliberately turned back across Malaysia to the Strait of Malacca, with its communications systems disabled. They are unsure what happened next.
Police are considering the possibilities of hijacking, sabotage, terrorism or issues related to the mental health of the pilots or anyone else on board.
Gelineau reported from Sydney, Australia. Associated Press writers Todd Pitman and Scott McDonald in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Nick Perry in Wellington, New Zealand; Kelvin Chan in Hong Kong; Christopher Bodeen and Isolda Morillo in Beijing; and Mark Lewis in Stavanger, Norway, contributed to this report.
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