The Australian government has announced a new search area for the missing flight MH370. The officials have further analyzed satellite data and have defined the search to focus on 1,800-kilometer (1,100-mile) area off Australia's west coast.
The Malaysian jet disappeared without a trace, together with its 239 passengers, on March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. According to officials, the plane might have been on autopilot. The Australian government released an official report in 64 pages concluding the underwater search area should be 60,000 km2. Warren Truss, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development of Australia, said:
“Specialists have analyzed satellite communications information—information which was never initially intended to have the capability to track an aircraft—and performed extremely complex calculations.
“The new priority area is still focused on the seventh arc, where the aircraft last communicated with satellite. We are now shifting our attention to an area further south along the arc based on these calculations. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau will today release a report outlining the basis on which this search area has been defined.”
A bathymetric survey has already commenced in the search area. The operation is being conducted by Fugro Equator and Zhu Kezhen, Chinese survey vessel. It is expected to take up to three months.
The underwater search, which was put on hold, is due to start in August and it will take up to one year for the submarines to scour the ocean floor.
According to officials, any wreckage will have sunk to the ocean floor. The new search area has been defined following similar conclusions of a few teams researching independently.
The search for the vanished MH370 is one of the most expensive in aviation history.
Advanced Survey vessel joins the search