Search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 interrupted due to medical emergency

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The search in the southern Indian Ocean for the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 has been interrupted after a crew member on board a search vessel fell ill, Australian officials say.

The crew member, whose identity has not been released, was working on board the survey vessel Fugro Discovery, which had arrived back in the search area earlier this week and had deployed its tow fish on Wednesday to continue scanning the ocean floor.

The Australian-led Joint Agency Coordination Center said on Thursday that the crew member had fallen ill and was diagnosed by the ship’s doctor with suspected appendicitis.

“As we have continued to emphasize, the safety and well-being of the crew is of the highest priority. Medical attention is being given on board, but further treatment is requirement,” the center said in a brief statement.

As a result, the tow fish has been recovered and the ship is now returning to the Australian port city of Fremantle, which will take about six days.

The second search vessel, the Fugro Equator, is not expected to arrive back from a resupply visit until next Monday.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, a Boeing 777 with 239 people on board, was operating a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing when it disappeared from civilian radar in the early morning of March 8, 2014. Investigators believe the aircraft continued to fly for nearly seven more hours before crashing in the southern Indian Ocean west of Perth.

Wreckage from the aircraft washed up on Reunion Island earlier this year, which authorities said would be expected from a crash west of Perth.

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