The search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 will be called off or "suspended" if it is not found soon, the officials from the three main search country sponsors have said.
In a new development it appears that once the current grid search area has been completed, any continuing programme to find he missing aircraft will be suspended if it has not been found, authorities from Malaysia, China and Australia released the news in a joint statement.
The Malaysian transport minister (when pushed by journalists) said the decision did not mean they were giving up on finding MH370, but hopes for discovering it are "fading".
The search of the 120,000 square kilometre is expected to end within the next three months, despite a new theory emerging about the crash, which suggests the plane may have glided for some distance, skimmed along the surface then gently sinking beneath the waves into the sea, rather than crash dived. The theory suggests the wrong grid references were being searched over the last 2 years.
The statement released earlier today said: "With less than 10,000 square kilometres of the high priority search area remaining to be searched, ministers acknowledged that despite the best efforts of all involved, the likelihood of finding the aircraft is fading.
"Ministers agreed that should the aircraft not be located in the current search area, and in the absence of credible new evidence leading to the identification of a specific location of the aircraft, the search would not end, but be suspended upon completion of the 120,000 square kilometre search area.
"The suspension does not mean the termination of the search. Ministers reiterated that the aspiration to locate MH370 has not been abandoned. 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."
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