Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Monday it was now highly unlikely that any debris from the missing Malaysian jet would be found on the ocean surface, with the search effort entering a new phase.
"I am now required to say to you that it is highly unlikely that we will find any aircraft debris on the ocean surface. By this stage, 52 days into the search, most material would have become waterlogged and sunk," Abbott said at a news conference in Canberra, the Australian capital.
Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 with 239 passengers and crew on board went missing on March 8 during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
It is suspected to have gone down in the southern Indian Ocean and this is where the search effort coordinated by Australian authorities in recent weeks has focused its attention.