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MH370: Rescue pilot determined for an outcome despite poor weather

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MH370: Rescue pilot determined for an outcome despite poor weather

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Technicials maintain an engine on one of two Japanese Government P3 aircraft, helping with the search of missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. --AFP PHOTO/POOL/Jason REED
PERTH: Cloud and fog have descended over parts of the Southern Indian Ocean, hampering search conditions for aircrafts looking for Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370.

Still the unaccommodating weather will not put a dampen on the spirits of Flying Officer Peter Moore who is confident the search team would find something for the families of the passengers and crew on board the missing aircraft.

"We're committed and confident in achieving something... an outcome... for the families of those on board flight MH370," said Moore who flew the last P3 Orion aircraft out of RAAF Base Pearce in Perth late Sunday.

Moore's declaration came despite discovering nothing of significance and having to explain that strong winds and heavy clouds hindered the search for the missing flight MH370 on Sunday in the Indian Ocean 2,500 kilometres off the coast of Perth, Australia.

Surrounded by about a dozen journalists from around the world after landing the plane at 10pm, the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) pilot described the mission that he and his team had done in the last ten hours on the fourth day of the search and rescue operation out of Perth.

"The situation out there was quite trying. There were low clouds of about 500 feet, a lot of sea fog and showers," explained Moore.

The visibility in the area was also heavily affected by the bad weather and with the crew mainly relying on their eyesight, search for objects on the ocean surface has been hugely impaired. Clouds blocked their view even at low altitudes.

"Visibility of the water surface was poor. It was probably about only 200 or 300 feet. On good conditions we can actually see for miles," he said. "However, the water seemed calm though, with maybe only a couple of metres of swell."

But, Moore and his crew remain positive and motivated as they are highly experienced and have been trained to conduct search and rescue operations in all kinds of situations including, and specifically in, poor ones like Sunday.

Armed with a little bit of extra fuel, he and and his crew even managed to revisit parts of the search area that had to be skipped earlier when the weather conditions were worsened. Overall, they managed to cover about 85 percent of the search area on that day.

A Japanese Air Force AP-3C Orion, helping with the search of missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, arrives at RAAF base Pearce in Bullsbrook, 35 kms north of Perth on March 23, 2014. --AFP PHOTO/POOL/Rob GRIFFITH


Eight aircrafts left Perth Sunday, four of them P3 Orions which departed from RAAF Base Pearce and another four were civilian aircrafts, to scour an increased search area of 59,000 square kilometres.

It takes these aircrafts at least four hours to reach the search area from the Australian mainland. They are then left with only two hours of search time before having to then fly another four hours back to Perth.

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Tags: weather, search, cloud, fog, Peter Moore, committed, RAAF, P3 Orion