March 25th, 2014
10:59 AM ET

Australian Officials Describe Tough Search Process

Tuesday's search for Flight 370 was called off on account of weather, Australian officials said.

Gale-force winds, large waves, heavy rain and low clouds were lashing the search area, making it impossible to dispatch surveillance planes to the scene and making it all but impossible to spot anything from ships.

The search is expected to resume Wednesday with 12 aircraft. Four Chinese vessels are also expected to join the search. And equipment to locate the plane's locator beacon is expected to arrive Wednesday from the United States.

But even with more searchers and equipment and calmer weather, the effort will still face severe challenges.

The area is extraordinarily remote - some 1,500 miles from Perth, Australia, where military surveillance planes capable of searching the site are being based. It is also astoundingly large - some 400,000 to 500,000 square miles of ocean.

"With eight hours of flying to and from the search region, the fleet of P-3 Orion aircraft and other military aircraft have only a precious few hours to scour the search tracks they have been given," Australian Defence Minister David Johnston said.

CNN's Kate Bolduan spoke with Johnston on "New Day" Tuesday.

The official said his first priority is confirming the debris is from the missing plane.

"The first thing we want to do is extract some wreckage, if there is any, from the surface of the ocean down there...and identify it as being part of the aircraft."

CNN's Kate Bolduan interviews Australia's Minister of Defence and Vice Chief of Defence on the search for MH370.

CNN's Kate Bolduan interviews Australia's Minister of Defence and Vice Chief of Defence on the search for MH370.

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