Malaysia Airlines jet search to enter `most difficult` phase; focus on ocean floor mapping

Almost two months after Malaysia airlines Flight 370 disappeared, searchers have not found anything that may be linked to the missing jet, said Australian Deputy PM Warren Truss.

By Supriya Jha | Last Updated: May 06, 2014, 00:56 AM IST

Zee Media Bureau/Supriya Jha

Kuala Lumpur: Almost two months after Malaysia airlines Flight 370 disappeared, searchers have not found anything that may be linked to the missing jet, said Australian Deputy PM Warren Truss as he along with officials from Malaysia and China held meeting over the next phase of search being touted as the most difficult one.

Addressing a press conference, Australian Deputy PM said that a new phase will commence in the search for MH370 for which meetings will be held in Canberra from Wednesday to chart out the methods.

As the latest search phase will involve detailed mapping of the ocean floor at great depths, new equipment will be needed like a mix of towed side scan or synthetic aperture sonar, and capable autonomous underwater vehicles, said Mr Truss.

“One of the key elements of the next stage will be to undertake more detailed oceanographic mapping of the search area. Much of this area has never been mapped, and so it will require a significant effort for us to understand the ocean floor in that area,” he said.

 
He added that for the new search phase, international experts will be roped in to “analyse all the data and the information that has been collected so far”. The meetings will also decide what assets might be required for the new phase.

While appreciating the gigantic collective efforts made so far in the search, Mr Truss admitted that no race of the flight MH370 had been found despite “giant efforts”.

Detailing the strenuous efforts he said, “In this period, 4,638,670 square kilometres of ocean have been searched... Three hundred and thirty-four search flights have been conducted and a total of 3137 hours have been spent in the air. There have been 10 civilian aircraft and 19 military aircraft, and 14 ships engaged in this search over a long period of time”.

“Unfortunately, all of that effort has found nothing,” he added.

The new phase of search is set to cost USD 60 million and can take a year to complete.

Malaysian Airlines jet MH370 disappeared on March 8 with 239 people on board, out of which 154 are said to be Chinese nationals.