Officials Call Off Search for Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370

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Officials have called off the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 after an intensive $150-million effort that lasted nearly three years and scoured some 120,000 square kilometers of ocean.

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It has been called the most expensive and complex search effort in aviation history.

The MH370 Tripartite, made up of representatives from Australia, Malaysia and China, made the announcement in a statement released Tuesday morning.

"Today the last search vessel has left the underwater search area. Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has not been located in the 120,000 square-kilometer underwater search area in the southern Indian Ocean," the statement said.

"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."

Voice 370, an advocacy group that represents the families and friends of the 239 people on board the missing plane, released a statement saying it was "dismayed" at the news and urging the search operations to continue.

"In our view, extending the search to the new area defined by the experts is an inescapable duty owed to the flying public in the interest of aviation safety. Commercial planes cannot just be allowed to disappear without a trace."

The group urged officials to look at an alternative search area of 25,000 square miles north of the area that searchers just finished canvassing.

Malaysia Airlines said that it "stands guided" by the decision made by the three governments in a statement.

"We share in the sorrow that the search has not produced the outcome that everyone had hoped for," the statement said, adding that the airline "remains hopeful that in the near future, new and significant information will come to light and the aircraft would eventually be located."

The quest to find the missing the Boeing 777 yielded very little results despite several pieces of positively-identified debris washing ashore in Africa.

The jet, bound for Beijing, took off from Kuala Lumpur International Airport shortly after midnight, at 12:41 a.m. local time on March 8, 2014.

According to rudimentary satellite data -- the only data available, since the data system and transponder had been shut off -- the aircraft likely ran out of fuel over a remote stretch of the Indian Ocean.

ABC News' Jeffrey Cook and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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