PERTH: The intensive aerial search for surface wreckage from Flight MH370 officially ended on Wednesday as the hunt was drastically scaled back with ships also moving out of the remote Indian Ocean area where the plane is believed to have gone down. Australian authorities said the focus would transition “over the coming weeks” to a more intensified undersea search in the quest to find out what happened to the Malaysia Airlines flight with 239 people aboard that disappeared on March 8. Eight nations have been involved in the unprecedented hunt—Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Japan, South Korea, the United States, Britain and China—with more than 300 sorties flown across a vast expanse of remote ocean looking for debris. But with nothing to show for their efforts from scanning more than 4.5 million square kilometers (1.5 million square miles) from the air since March 18, the planes have been stood down. “Most of the aircraft will have left by the end of today,” a spokesman for the Australian-led Joint Agency Coordination Center told Agence France-Presse, although an Australian P-3 Orion would remain on standby in Perth.



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