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'Owe It to the Families': Search for Jet May Take Up to a Year

The next steps include adding new partners, experts and assets to an already massive and wide-ranging international search operation.

It could take a year to find the remains of Flight MH370, the head of the search effort said on Friday.

"We’re totally committed ... to find MH370, and I’m confident -- with an effective search -- we will eventually find the aircraft,” said Angus Houston, the head of the team looking for the plane off Australia's west coast. "We owe it to the families and I think we owe it to the flying public around the world."

Speaking at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur, Houston injected a note of caution despite his pledge.

"I'm still hopeful that the Bluefin work we do between now and end of May might still find something," he said in reference to the U.S. Navy's Bluefin 21 robotic submarine that has been scouring the search area. "I must say the chances of finding something -- the probability is lower than it was when we started the search."

Malaysia's acting transport minister also said he was convinced the missing Boeing 777 would be found.

Malaysian Defense Minister and acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, center, speaks to reporters as the chief coordinator of the Joint Agency Coordination Center Angus Houston, right, and President of French Aviation Accident Investigation Bureau Jean-Paul Troadec listen in Kuala Lumpur on Friday.Vincent Thian / AP

"I believe that we will find MH370 sooner or later,” Hishammuddin Hussein said at the same news conference.

Next, searchers will add new partners, experts and assets to an already massive and wide-ranging international search operation, the minister said.

On Thursday, Malaysia released a comprehensive account of what happened to MH370, revealing the confusion that ensued once the jetliner veered off course.

The Malaysian government has come under harsh criticism for its handling of events surrounding the plane on and after March 8, when the Malaysia Airlines flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing disappeared with 239 passengers and crew on board.

—Becky Bratu