The Australian government plans to erect a memorial to the victims of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 on its western coastline, Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced Saturday. The Beijing-bound plane disappeared on March 8 with 239 people on board, shortly after leaving Kuala Lumpur.
Abbott said during his visit with Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak, that the move for a “fitting monument” will be guided by the wishes of victims' family members. The search for the airliner has been continuing for about six months, and has so far yielded no concrete clues as to its whereabouts. The two prime ministers reportedly spoke about the new search effort for the jetliner, scheduled to begin in about two weeks.
"A new phase of the search will begin using the best available technology and that search will continue until all that is humanly possible to be done has been done to scour the probable impact zone," Abbott said, during his meeting with Razak on Saturday, according to The Daily Advertiser, an Australian newspaper.
"In respect of a monument or memorial, it would be the intention of the Australian government to erect some kind of fitting monument to those who perished on that flight at an appropriate point on the WA coastline.
"But again, this intention must be subject to the wishes of the Malaysian government and the wishes of the families.”
The two prime ministers also discussed about intensifying efforts linked to the recovery of any human remains still present at the crash site of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, which was shot down over eastern Ukraine in July, killing all 298 people on board.
"We intend to send our teams to the crash site as soon as possible," Abbott reportedly said. "We are very, very keen to re-enter the crash site, especially before winter sets in."
Australian investigators were reportedly forced to suspend their search in the area in August as fighting between pro-Russian rebels and Ukranian forces intensified around the crash site. But according to reports, forensic experts could be sent back on the grounds, while Razak declared that Malaysian investigators needed “at least a few weeks” to search the crash site for remaining evidence.
"Once that process is completed we will then look at the criminal side which is to find out who is responsible for this atrocious crime," Razak reportedly said.
Abbott told the news conference that it was likely that the remains of some MH17 victims were "still left strewn across the fields of Ukraine."
The Australian leader, who is on a three-day trip to India and Malaysia, is expected to return back to Australia on Sunday.