MH370: Debris Search to Resume Later Tuesday

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PERTH, Australia – The hunt for crashed Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 will resume later Tuesday after rolling seas, gale force winds and heavy rain forced the search to be suspended, authorities said.

Winds of up to 50 mph and a cloud ceiling as low as 200ft made conditions in the remote corner of the southern Indian Ocean too hazardous to allow planes and ships to search for possible debris.

Weather in the zone where debris was spotted - some 1,500 miles southwest of the coast of Australia - is expected to improve, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said in a statement.

Up to 12 aircraft - seven military and five civilian - will resume an air search of the zone on Wednesday morning local time (Tuesday evening ET), AMSA said.

The Australian naval search vessel HMAS Success will also return to the zone after waves of up to 6.5 ft and sea swell of 13 ft earlier forced it to move away, said the statement released at 7.45 p.m. local time (4.45 a.m. ET) on Tuesday.

Earlier, officials said that a sophisticated U.S. Navy plane that “can see something the size of a basketball” did not spot any debris on Monday.

The P-8 Poseidon “planes are so good, the radars are so good on them that if we fly over it or if we fly anywhere near it we’re going to see it,” U.S. Navy Seventh Fleet Cmdr. William Marks told NBC News. “We can see something the size of a basketball.”

- Cyndi Ferguson and Alastair Jamieson