More than three and a half months after Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, Australia announced a new search area to locate the missing jetliner. Rian Maelzer reports from Kuala Lumpur.
The focus of the search will now shift further south in the Indian Ocean to the area where experts now believe the plane is most likely to have run out of fuel and plunged into the sea. It appears now that no one may have actually been at the controls for the final stretch of that fateful flight.
Speculation continues to swirl about who was responsible for diverting Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 thousands of kilometers from its intended flight path on March 8th and why.
Australia’s deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss revealed Thursday that no one appears to have been steering the plane after it rounded Sumatra and flew across the Indian Ocean till it ran out of fuel.
For the past month, the search for any trace of flight MH370 has paused as authorities from Australia, China and Malaysia along with international experts have regrouped and re-evaluated.
The previous phase of the search focused on an area where equipment detected acoustic pings that the searchers believed were coming from the plane’s flight data recorder or black box. But after the undersea robotic submersible, the Bluefin 21, spent weeks scouring the ocean floor in that area and found no trace of the missing plane, the experts concluded the signals had no connection with MH370.
Chinese naval vessel and a Dutch ship contracted by Australia are now mapping the seafloor in the 60-square kilometer search area, which is expected to take around three months.
The search team will then deploy specialized unmanned vehicles to scour the ocean floor to try to find the wreckage of the missing Malaysia Airlines jet, a task Truss warns could take up to a year.