Search resumes for Malaysian flight MH370Staff Writer | January 25, 2018
A U.S.-based company has begun searching for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, Malaysia said, as it tries to solve one of the world's greatest aviation mysteries.
Disaster MH370 disappeared en route to Beijing
Investigators believe someone may have deliberately switched off MH370's transponder before diverting it over the Indian Ocean. Debris has been collected from Indian Ocean islands and Africa's east coast and at least three pieces have been confirmed as coming from the missing plane.
Australia, China and Malaysia ended a fruitless A$200-million ($159.38 million) search of a 120,000 sq km area in January last year, despite investigators urging the search be extended to a 25,000 sq km area further to the north.
Malaysia agreed earlier this month to pay U.S. firm Ocean Infinity up to $70 million if it finds the plane within 90 days. The search vessel, the Seabed Constructor, set off from Durban, South Africa, on January 3.
The vessel reached the search zone on Sunday and on Tuesday was tracking towards a spot that Australia's scientific agency believes with "unprecedented precision and certainty" is the most likely location of the aircraft.
The eight submersibles can search a wide area of sea floor much faster than the tethered scanners used in previous searches, Charitha Pattiaratchi, professor of coastal oceanography at the University of Western Australia, told Reuters by phone from Colombo.
The man who co-led the search for Air France 447 — which crashed in the Atlantic Ocean in 2009 — says if MH370 is at or near the bottom of the sea, the wreckage and indeed bodies could be largely preserved, and still give investigators vital clues as to why the plane disappeared so far off course.
The Air France plane was in water nearly four kilometres deep for nearly two years before searchers finally found it and retrieved the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder.
And although the Air France plane broke into pieces on impact, the bodies of many passengers were found largely intact, giving investigators more clues.
The wreck of missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 — if it is found — could be preserved "like a time capsule" because of the depth, stillness and temperature of waters in the southern Indian Ocean. ■