Search for MH370 to go on: PM

ANDREA VANCE
Last updated 07:27 25/03/2014

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New Zealand will continue its search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, Prime Minister John Key says.

He was responding to news Malaysia overnight that the plane had crashed in the Indian Ocean and all hope of finding survivors was lost.

Key, who is attending the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague, said he had no information apart from media reports and a statement from Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

Without any "firm evidence," New Zealand would continue its efforts to locate the plane, Key said.

A New Zealand Air Force P3 Orion has been involved in the enormous international mission to scour the remote seas where the Malaysian plane was last believed to have been.

"In the end it is one thing to put up that proposition - and I'm not in any way questioning it . . . I'm just simply saying that for the family members if you really want ultimate closure there will have to appropriate evidence that corroborates that," he said.

New Zealanders Paul Weeks, 39, and Ximin Wang, 50, were aboard the doomed flight that vanished, along with its 239 passengers and crew, on March 8.

"Obviously, we would be deeply distressed for the two New Zealand families that are involved," Key said.

"We know this has been a very traumatic time for them and a very difficult situation because there are so many unknowns about what finally happened to the aircraft, what the motivations of it were, why the information has been so difficult to either receive or interpret.

"My heart goes out to those families and I can only assume that the information we are getting is correct. But I'd have to caveat that by saying I don't t have evidence to support it. We are simply relying on what we are seeing across the media wires."

He said there was a "degree of subjectivity" about the new information.

"In a way what everyone will continue to do is continue to search and continue to look for absolute hard evidence," Key said.

"We know there is quite a lot of debris out there. Off the modelling I understand Najib is using he is saying that's the last known point and it's not possible the plane got to somewhere where it could have landed, so therefore that's the outcome.

"We certainly can't confirm that. We haven't seen anything that says that's absolutely right or not."

Key said the missing aircraft, and the unfolding crisis in Crimea, were the "topics du jour" among world leaders attending the summit.

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