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Two weeks in, no sign of Malaysian airliner

Two weeks. Two gut-wrenching, frustrating, mysterious weeks.

That’s how long it’s been since 227 passengers and 12 crew members boarded Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, destined for Beijing. A routine trip, it seemed, to catch up relatives in time for the weekend, start on a work assignment or just get away.

Where they got to, still unknown. An exhaustive search — covering a mind-boggling 2.97 million square miles, which is nearly the size of the continental United States — has yielded some clues, but no proof of where the Boeing 777 is or definitively what happened to it.

The latest, most notable lead revolved around two large objects detected by satellite Sunday floating on waters over 1,400 miles off of Australia’s west coast.

The first of several Australian military planes, as well as two long-range commercial jets, resumed their search Saturday morning to find any trace of the objects, amid some skepticism that they or ships in the area ever will and, if they do, that whatever they find will be related to the missing aircraft.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Friday defended the decision to announce the find, saying Australia owes it to families of those missing “to give them information as soon as it’s to hand.” But he didn’t make any promises.

“It could just be a container that has fallen off a ship,” Abbott said during a visit to Papua New Guinea. “We just don’t know.”

On Friday, Hishammuddin Hussein, Malaysia’s interim transportation minister, tried to reset expectations for a quick resolution to the mystery after the satellite discovery.

“This is going to be a long haul,” he said.

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