TODAY   |  April 28, 2014

Aerial portion of Flight 370 search halted

Officials announce a new phase in the search for Flight 370 as they bring the aerial search for debris to an end, and expand the underwater search. NBC’s Katy Tur reports

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>>> meantime, we have new developments in the search for malaysia air flight 370. officials are announcing a new phase in the operation as they bring the aerial search for debris to an end. nbc's katy tur is in perth, australia, again. katy , good morning to you.

>> reporter: good morning, matt. certainly not the news update they wanted to have out of here today, announcing that they are suspending the aerial search and entering yet another new phase of the underwater search. meanwhile, bluefin-21 is still doing its dives. it's on number 16 right now. but things are not looking good. on day 52 without a single piece of wreckage, australian officials were forced to admit their "most promising lead" may not deliver.

>> we're still baffled and disappointed that we haven't been able to find undersea wreckage.

>> reporter: overnight, australian officials outlined a new phase that includes hiring private contractors with side scan sonar to search a much broader area. the time span, six to eight months. the cost, $60 million. as for families, still questions without answers. in an e-mail, sarah bajc, whose boyfriend phillip wood was on the plane, wrote, you continue to pour assets into a search in an area that has not been validated to be correct. why not pour those same assets into first confirming if the area is correct. many of the families have that same sentiment, that they're just not looking in the right spot. all in all, a pretty disappointing day out of australia today. nobody said that this was going to be a quick search , but certainly no one was believing, at least in the search party, at least they weren't hoping that it was going to be six to eight months. matt?

>> katy tur in perth this morning. katy , thanks very much.