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Crew member aboard Chinese search vessel injured during Aust'n-led search for MH370

CANBERRA, June 29 (Xinhua) -- The operational search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has been further delayed, after poor weather and injury to a Chinese crew member forced the return of one of the search vessels earlier this week, the Australian government confirmed on Wednesday.

In a statement released by the Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC), it was revealed a crew member aboard Chinese search ship Dong Hai Jiu 101 sustained an injury while the vessel was returning to search waters in the southern Indian Ocean.

"Dong Hai Jiu 101 arrived in Fremantle on June 22 for scheduled resupply, and departed for the search area on June 26," the Australian government statement read.

"Two days into the voyage a crew member sustained an injury. Although not life-threatening, the decision has been made to return to port to ensure the best possible medical attention can be provided."

The search efforts were further delayed by poor winter weather in the region; the JACC now expects the search of a 120,000 square kilometer zone to be completed sometime in August.

As the end of the search draws nearer, the JACC also laid out plans should the missing Boeing 777 jetliner be found within the search zone.

"More than 110,000 square kilometers of the seafloor have been searched so far," the statement read.

"In the event the aircraft is found and accessible, Australia, Malaysia and the People's Republic of China have agreed to plans for recovery activities, including securing all the evidence necessary for the accident investigation."

"In the absence of credible new information that leads to the identification of a specific location of the aircraft, governments have agreed that there will be no further expansion of the search area."

MH370 was a scheduled passenger service bound to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur with 239 passengers and crew on board.

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