Sick crew member interrupts search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370

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The search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 has been interrupted for a second time this month after a crew member on board a search vessel fell ill, officials say. One vessel is continuing the search.

The Australian-led Joint Agency Coordination Center (JACC) said in a statement on Monday that a crew member on board the survey vessel Fugro Discovery was suffering from severe pain. As a result, the vessel’s search operations were abandoned and the ship is now returning to port.

“The vessel recovered the towfish on Saturday and is currently en route to Fremantle [in Western Australia],” the center said in an emailed statement. “The journey will take around six days.”

The full-time doctor on board the Fugro Discovery is attending to the crew member and is in consultation with doctors onshore. Details about the nature of the crew member’s illness were not immediately disclosed.

“As we have continued to emphasize, the safety and well-being of the crew is of the highest priority,” JACC added. The second search vessel, the Fugro Equator, remains in the area to continue its part of the search.

The medical emergency comes just weeks after another crew member on board the Fugro Discovery fell ill and was diagnosed with appendicitis, forcing the ship to abandon its search operations. That happened when the second search vessel was away for a resupply visit, putting the search for MH370 on hold for 10 days.

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 that 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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