SYDNEY (AP) - After nearly three years, the hunt for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 (MH370) ended in futility and frustration Tuesday, as crews completed their deep-sea search of a desolate stretch of the Indian Ocean without finding a trace of the plane.
According to a joint communiqué issued Tuesday by Transport Ministers in Australia, China and Malaysia, the last search vessel has left the underwater search area that has been the focus of the search of Flight 370, since it went missing in 2014.
According to the statement, MH370 was not located in the 120,000 square kilometer (approximately 46,332.26 square miles) search area, and as a result, the underwater search has now been suspended.
"Despite every effort using the best science available, cutting-edge technology, as well as modelling and advice from highly skilled professionals who are the best in their field, unfortunately, the search has not been able to locate the aircraft," the statement read. "Accordingly, the underwater search for MH370 has been suspended."
Officials investigating the plane's disappearance have recommended search crews head north to a new area identified in a recent analysis as a possible crash site. But the Australian government has already nixed that idea.
Last year, Australia, Malaysia and China -- which have each helped fund the search -- agreed that the hunt would be suspended once the search zone was exhausted unless new evidence emerges that pinpoints the plane's specific location.
Since no technology currently exists that can tell investigators exactly where the plane is, that effectively means the most expensive, complex search in aviation history is over.