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Search for jet finds nothing; stopped by weather

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This graphic released by the Malaysian Remote Sensing Agency on Wednesday March 26, 2014, shows satellite imagery taken on March 23, 2014, with the approximate positions of objects seen floating in the southern Indian Ocean in the search zone for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Malaysian Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said at a news conference in Kuala Lumpur Wednesday that a satellite has captured images of 122 objects close to where three other satellites previously detected objects. (AP Photo/Malaysian Remote Sensing Agency)

This graphic released by the Malaysian Remote Sensing Agency on Wednesday March 26, 2014, shows satellite imagery taken on March 23, 2014, with the approximate positions of objects seen floating in the southern Indian Ocean in the search zone for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Malaysian Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said at a news conference in Kuala Lumpur Wednesday that a satellite has captured images of 122 objects close to where three other satellites previously detected objects. (AP Photo/Malaysian Remote Sensing Agency)

In this Wednesday, March 26, 2014 photo, Tactical Coordinator Imray Cooray operates from his station on board a Royal Australian Air Force AP-3C Orion during a search for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 in the southern Indian Ocean. A French satellite scanning the Indian Ocean for remnants of the missing jetliner found a possible plane debris field containing 122 objects, a top Malaysian official said Wednesday, calling it “the most credible lead that we have.” (AP Photo/Paul Kane, Pool)

Guards stand at the doors of the Hotel Bangi-Putrajaya in Bangi, Malaysia as they tighten security where relatives of passengers on board the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 are staying on Thursday, March 27, 2014. Australian officials say search operations for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane have been suspended for the day due to bad weather. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

In this Wednesday, March 26, 2014 photo, Flight Engineer Ron Day, right, on board a Royal Australian Air Force AP-3C Orion, searches for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 in the southern Indian Ocean. A French satellite scanning the Indian Ocean for remnants of the missing jetliner found a possible plane debris field containing 122 objects, a top Malaysian official said Wednesday, calling it “the most credible lead that we have.” (AP Photo/Paul Kane, Pool)

In this Wednesday, March 26, 2014 photo, Flight Lt. Russell Adams looks out from the cockpit on board a Royal Australian Air Force AP-3C Orion, during a search for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 in the southern Indian Ocean. A French satellite scanning the Indian Ocean for remnants of the missing jetliner found a possible plane debris field containing 122 objects, a top Malaysian official said Wednesday, calling it “the most credible lead that we have.” (AP Photo/Paul Kane, Pool)

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PERTH, Australia (AP) — Searchers aboard planes and ships on Thursday failed to find any of the 122 objects captured by satellite as possible debris from the downed Malaysian Airlines jet, as heavy rain, winds and low clouds forced the aircraft to return to the base after only a few hours.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority said all 11 planes that headed for the search area in the southern Indian Ocean earlier Thursday were returning to Perth. It said the area about 2,500 kilometers (1,550 miles) southwest of Perth was hit by inclement weather that reduced visibility, but added that five ships would stay to try to continue the hunt.

AMSA spokesman Sam Cardwell said all but three of the planes — a U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon, a Japanese P-3 Orion and a Japanese Gulfstream jet — reached the zone before the search was suspended.

They were there “maybe two hours,” said Cardwell, and they did not find anything.

“They got a bit of time in, but it was not useful because there was no visibility,” he said.

In a message on its Twitter account, AMSA said the bad weather was expected for 24 hours.

Planes have been flying out of Perth for a week, looking without any success for objects spotted in vague satellite images, the latest of which showed 122 objects floating in the ocean.

Finding them would give physical confirmation that the flight, Flight 370, which vanished early March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people aboard, had crashed, and allow searchers to narrow the hunt for the wreckage of the plane and its black boxes, which could solve the mystery of why the plane was so far off-course.

Malaysian officials said earlier this week that satellite data confirmed the plane crashed while on a course toward the southern Indian Ocean. Malaysia Airlines on Thursday ran a full-page condolence advertisement with a black background in a major newspaper.

“Our sincerest condolences go out to the loved ones of the 239 passengers, friends and colleagues. Words alone cannot express our enormous sorrow and pain,” read the advertisement in the New Straits Times.

The 122 objects captured by a French satellite ranged in size from 1 meter (3 feet) to 23 meters (75 feet). The sighting was called “the most credible lead that we have” by a top Malaysian official on Wednesday, but the search will now have to wait until the weather improves, echoing the frustration of earlier sweeps that failed to zero in on three objects spotted by satellites in recent days.

The latest satellite images, captured Sunday and relayed by French-based Airbus Defense and Space, are the first to suggest a debris field from the plane, rather than just isolated objects. The items were spotted in roughly the same area as other objects previously seen by Australian and Chinese satellites.

At a news conference in Kuala Lumpur, Hishammuddin said some of them “appeared to be bright, possibly indicating solid materials.”

But experts cautioned that the area’s frequent high seas and bad weather and its distance from land complicated an already-trying search.

“This is a really rough piece of ocean,

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