Grieving family members of those on board the ill-fated Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 will be given every assistance to travel to Australia, if and when any wreckage is found, the federal government says.
The search for debris in the southern Indian Ocean, which is being co-ordinated out of the RAAF Pearce base in Western Australia, was suspended on Tuesday due to bad weather.
The postponement came after Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak confirmed in Kuala Lumpur new data showed the plane, carrying 239 people, had crashed into the ocean southwest of Perth after disappearing more than two weeks ago.
Defence Minister David Johnston said Prime Minister Tony Abbott wanted to help the families, the majority of whom are from China.
“I know the prime minister is very, very concerned that we extend every possible courtesy,” he told Fairfax radio.
“They have had an emotional rollercoaster for two weeks, my heart goes out to them.
“We will do everything we can to give them some semblance of closure, in what we now know is a very serious disaster.”
Malaysia Airlines will assist family members to travel to Australia once they get approval from the investigating authorities.
“Arrangements will be made to bring the families to the recovery area, and until that time we will continue to support the ongoing investigation,” it said in a statement.
There were also six Australians on the flight.
Senator Johnston also confirmed any debris recovered would almost certainly be shipped to WA.
“I would presume it will first come to Fremantle, because they will need to refuel and AMSA (Australian Maritime Safety Authority) will determine what happens there in cooperation with the Malaysians and the international air safety authorities,” Senator Johnston said.