Wreckage hunter launches search for MH370 debris

mh370PETALING JAYA: Even as a new search is expected to start for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 aircraft next month, a separate search is already being undertaken by an amateur wreckage hunter, The West Australian reported.

Blaine Gibson, who claims that he has already found almost 20 pieces of debris from the missing Boeing 777, said that he is combing the south coast of Western Australia (WA) for traces of MH370.

“Professor Pattiaratchi tells me that the current that swept the debris from MH370s probable crash location could bring it back towards the southern coast of Australia because it merges with the southern Indian Ocean current near South Africa,’ Gibson told the daily, referring to Charitha Pattiaratchi, a professor at the University of WA.

“So, I urge everyone on holidays this Christmas to keep an eye out for debris,”

Last month, it was reported that a new search would be commencing next month in a new area of the Indian Ocean, immediately to the north of the last search area.

Houston-based Ocean Infinity was reported to be in negotiations with the Malaysian government, making a “no-find, no-fee” proposal that it would assume full financial risk for a renewed search, claiming a payment only if it found the aircraft.

Australian Transport Minister Darren Chester was quoted as saying that at Malaysia’s request, Australia would provide technical assistance to the Malaysian government and Ocean Infinity.

“Australia has developed considerable experience given its role in the search to date, and stands ready to support the extended search if it goes ahead,” Chester was quoted as saying.

Malaysia, China and Australia agreed to suspend the deep-sea sonar search in January this year after 120,000 square kilometres of seabed were combed without finding any trace of the plane.

Many aviation experts believed that the previous search had failed because the Australian Transport Safety Bureau’s (ATSB) assumptions were flawed.

Since then, the ATSB has identified a new ­potential search area of 25,000sq km immediately to the north of the last one.

Flight MH370 disappeared on March 8, 2014, en route to Beijing from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, with 239 passengers and crew members on board.

It was believed to have crashed into the waters of the southern Indian Ocean, about 2,000km off the coast of Western Australia.

It has since become one of the the world’s greatest unsolved aviation mysteries, if not the most mysterious involving a commercial airliner.