Good news and bad news over MH370 search

MH370

KUALA LUMPUR: There is some good news with regards to the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in the Indian Ocean.

The Dong Hai Jiu 101, one of two ships involved in the search, is back in action. It ended its months-long break from the hunt on October 20, after being delayed by bad weather, according to an update from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB).

On October 24, it was back in the search area with a remotely operated vehicle on board. The ROV, or drone, will allow the ship to re-examine locations that need more thorough analysis.

Meanwhile, the other ship – the Fugro Equator – briefly visited the Australian Marine Complex in Henderson to get refitted with the Hugin 4500 Autonomous Underwater Vehicle.
It has now joined the search for the missing plane.

However, there is some bad news too: poor weather conditions brought by the southern hemisphere winter.

“These conditions may impact the progress of the search operations, as the ROV requires frequent launching and recovery – operations which call for suitable conditions,” the AT SB said in an email update.

Due to this, it said the search for Flight MH370 would only end in January/February next year

So far, the ATSB, which is leading the three-nation search, has completed scouring a 110,000 sq km area in the 7th Arc in the southern Indian Ocean, off southwest Australia.

The update reiterated the search would be suspended upon completion of the 120,000 sq km search area.

It attributed the decision to “the absence of credible new evidence leading to the identification of a specific location of the aircraft”.

The update was echoing the decision taken by Malaysia, Australia and China on July 22 at a meeting of the ministers concerned.

Most of the 239 people on board MH370 were from China. There were also six Australian nationals and residents on board the plane.

The search is based on pings, electronic handshakes between the aircraft and a satellite.

MH370 disappeared on March 8, 2014, between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing, with 239 people on board.