PETALING JAYA: Missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 could be preserved “like a time capsule” in the southern Indian Ocean.
This is the theory of an oceanographer involved in the search for Air France flight 447, which crashed in the Atlantic Ocean in 2009.
Australia’s ABC news network yesterday reported David Gallo as saying that this was because of the depth, stillness and temperature of the waters in the ocean where the aircraft might have fallen.
He said if MH370 was at the bottom of the ocean, even the bodies could be largely preserved, giving investigators important clues about what had happened to it.
“It can be a very quiet place with very little oxygen,” the US scientist was quoted as saying.
“At the surface, it’s not the same thing, so the deep ocean can be like a time capsule that preserves everything.”
Air France 447 had crashed with 228 passengers and crew on board while en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris on June 1, 2009.
Gallo said although the plane broke into pieces on impact, the bodies of many passengers were found largely intact.
“In some places, bodies don’t last very long at all, and the sea water even dissolves bones so that there’s nothing that remains,” he was quoted as saying.
“In Air France, there were bodies that were, in a way, preserved. Normal processes of decomposition don’t happen.
“The plane was disintegrated … but there were places where there were rows of seats and many people were still in their seats,” he added.
The ABC report said the Air France plane’s flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder were found in good condition despite it being in water nearly 4km deep for nearly two years.
Gallo said the situation with MH370, which disappeared while flying from Kuala Lumpur International Airport to Beijing with 239 passengers and crew on March 8, 2014, was different.
He said this was because the plane was flying for some seven hours, and the information recorded on the black box could have been rewritten after some time.
“I think the voice cockpit recorder… records over itself after two hours,” he was quoted as saying.
On Jan 10 this year, Ocean Infinity, a US seabed exploration company, inked a deal with the Malaysian government to search for MH370 on a “no cure, no fee” basis.
The search involves the use of the Norwegian Seabed Constructor vessel equipped with advanced submersibles covering an area of 25,000 sq km in the Indian Ocean within 90 days.