MH370News:2014/Day 080

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Day 080: Monday, 26 May 2014



News Summary





Media Statements

Media Statement by Martin Dolan, Chief Commissioner, Australian Transport safety Bureau

The search for MH370 continues

Monday May 26, 2014

By Martin Dolan, Chief Commissioner


It’s now been more than 11 weeks since Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 disappeared from air traffic control radar after taking off from Kuala Lumpur on a scheduled passenger service to Beijing.

Despite one of the most intensive and coordinated air and sea search efforts ever undertaken, there has not yet been any sign of the missing aircraft.

The complexities surrounding the search cannot be understated.  It involves vast areas of the Indian Ocean with only limited known data and aircraft flight information. While it is impossible to determine with certainty where the aircraft may have entered the water, all the available data indicates a highly probable search area close to a long but narrow arc of the southern Indian Ocean.

It is now highly unlikely that surface debris from the aircraft will be spotted. This means that the most effective way to continue the search is to look for MH370 under the water.

The search will be a major undertaking. 
The complexities and challenges involved are immense, but not impossible.

Following an announcement by the Prime Minister of Australia in late April, and at the request of the Malaysian government, the ATSB is planning an intensified underwater search of a 60,000 square kilometre area—roughly the size of Tasmania.

As part of its search operations, the ATSB’s initial work involves:

  • reviewing existing information, from an expert satellite working group, to refine a search zone of up to 60,000 square kilometres in the southern Indian Ocean
  • conducting a bathymetric survey to map the search area
  • consulting with domestic and international authorities—including various oceanographic institutions and private companies—to prepare the plan and specialist services required for the next search phase. 

The bathymetric survey—or mapping of the ocean floor—has already commenced, with the Chinese survey ship Zhu Kezhen conducting a survey of the areas provided by the ATSBZhu Kezhen will shortly be joined by a contracted commercial survey vessel in June. Taking around three months to complete, the bathymetric survey will give us crucial knowledge of the seafloor terrain needed to begin the underwater search.

The intensified underwater search will aim to locate the aircraft and any evidence (such as aircraft debris and flight recorders) to assist with the Malaysian investigation. The equipment used for the search will likely include a towed sonar, an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle with mounted sonar, and optical imaging equipment. We expect the search to begin in several months and take up to 12 months to complete.

The search will be a major undertaking. The complexities and challenges involved are immense, but not impossible. The best minds from around the world have been reviewing, refining and localising the most likely area where the aircraft entered the water, which is why we remain confident of finding the aircraft.

I encourage you to visit the ATSB’s "Search for MH370" webpage[1]. The page features a series of factsheets that provide a great deal of detail on our underwater search operations. We will also provide regular updates on the page as significant information comes to hand.


Martin Dolan, Chief Commissioner


Source: https://www.atsb.gov.au/infocus/posts/2014/the-search-for-mh370-continues/

Notes

  1. The link in the original document was actually inactive. Relevant links as at February 2024 are:-
    https://www.atsb.gov.au/mh370-pages/updates/reports, and
    https://www.atsb.gov.au/mh370-pages/the-search/about-the-search