Search for missing plane resumes after day of bad weather

The desperate, multinational hunt for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 resumed today across a remote stretch of the Indian Ocean, as the fierce winds and high waves that had hampered the search on Tuesday eased considerably.

A total of 12 planes and two ships from the United States, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand were participating in the search, hoping to find even a single piece of the Malaysia Airlines jet that could offer tangible evidence of a crash.

Malaysia announced earlier this week that a mathematical analysis of the final known satellite signals from the plane had proved beyond doubt it gone down in the sea, taking the lives of all 239 people on board (See: Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 lost in Indian Ocean, says Malaysian PM).

The new data vastly shrunk the search zone, but it remains huge - an area estimated at 1.6 million sq km.

''We're throwing everything we have at this search,'' Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said today.

''This is about the most inaccessible spot imaginable. It's thousands of kilometers from anywhere,'' Abbot told TV interviewers. He vowed that ''we will do what we can to solve this riddle."

About two-thirds of the lost passengers are Chinese, and that country has rushed a special envoy to Malaysia.

The plane's bizarre disappearance on 8 March shortly after it took off from Kuala Lumpur en route to Beijing has proven to be one of the biggest mysteries in aviation.

While all circumstantial evidence points to a terrorist act, no group has claimed responsibility for the passenger aircraft suddenly veering off course and into the middle of nowhere.

The search for the wreckage and the plane's flight data and cockpit voice recorders could take years because the ocean can extend to up to 7,000 metres deep in parts.

There is a race against the clock to find Flight 370's black boxes, whose battery-powered ''pinger'' could stop sending signals within two weeks. The batteries are designed to last at least a month.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority, which is coordinating the southern search operation Malaysia's behalf, said the focus today will be on an 80,000 sq km swathe of ocean. Ships and aircraft are looking for possible debris that has drifted from the suspected crash zone. The area is about 2,000 kilometers (1,240 miles) southwest of Perth.

Various pieces of floating objects have been spotted by planes and satellite, but none have been retrieved or identified.

Australia's Bureau of Meteorology warned that weather was expected to deteriorate again Thursday with a cold front passing through the search area that bring rain thunderstorms, low clouds and strong winds.

Malaysia announced on Monday that a complex analysis of satellite data by foreign experts had concluded that flight had ended in a remote corner of the Indian Ocean, far from any landing strip.