Bad Weather Halts Search for Malaysia Airlines Jet

Image: Crew members on board an RAAF AP-3C Orion
Crew members on board an RAAF AP-3C Orion participate in the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 on Tuesday March 24, 2014.RICHARD WAINWRIGHT / AFP - Getty Images

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Searches for the missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner were called off Thursday less than four hours after they had gotten underway as conditions in the Indian Ocean search area turned treacherous.

"All planes are returning to Perth & ships are leaving search area," the Australian Maritime Safety Authority tweeted.

"The forecast in the area was calling for severe icing, severe turbulence and near zero visibility," Lt. Cmdr. Adam Schantz, the officer in charge of the U.S. Navy Poseidon P8 aircraft detachment, told Reuters.

"Anybody who's out there is coming home, and all additional sorties from here are canceled."

— Mark Stevenson, with contributions from Reuters