Malaysia has called off the search for Flight MH370 in the area near the jet's last confirmed position and is concentrating solely around where possible debris was spotted in the southern Indian Ocean, an official said Tuesday.
“All searches are now focused in the southern search corridor,” acting transport minister Hishamuddin Hussein told a news briefing in Kuala Lumpur. “Until we find the debris – and confirm that the debris is MH370 – it is very difficult for me to have closure for the families."
Hishamuddin said the search zone had been "narrowed" from 2.24 million nautical square miles to a 469,407 square nautical miles – or 621,632 square miles, which is an area almost the size of Alaska.
However, he conceded the hunt the doomed airliner was still a “huge task.”
"I am a very optimistic person and whenever there is hope – even against hope – we will do whatever it takes," Hishamuddin added.
The Malaysian official said the search was concentrating entirely on the zone – at the extreme “southern tip” of the Boeing 777’s possible flight path – where objects have been sighted by satellites.
He added that the investigation had now become one of a “technical nature” in light of the analysis from satellite experts Immarsat that suggests the jet continued flying south and crashed into the remote corner of the Indian Ocean.