Australian authorities have stopped searching for debris related to the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in the area where the
The Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) says the Bluefin-21 autonomous underwater vehicle was pulled up on 28 March after searching over 850km2 of the ocean floor.
Analysis of data it gathered shows no signs of the Boeing 777-200ER that disappeared on 8 March.
“The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has advised that the search in the vicinity of the acoustic detections can now be considered complete and in its professional judgement, the area can now be discounted as the final resting place of MH370,” the JACC says.
The announcement follows media confusion stemming from comments by a US Navy official. During a CNN interview, the navy’s deputy director of ocean engineering, Michael Dean, said that acoustic signals detected in early April – which informed the location of the Bluefin-21’s search – have subsequently been deemed by the USA and other nations to have been produced by a source other than MH370’s flight data or cockpit voice recorder.
The US Navy was quick to issue a statement saying the official’s comments were premature.
Dean’s comments, and the navy’s swift refutation, were but the latest public relations hitch related to the search for MH370. In the early days after the disappearance of MH370, uncoordinated communications by Malaysian officials sowed confusion around the aircraft’s disappearance. On April 11, Australian prime minister Tony Abbot expressed confidence that the search was close to locating the missing aircraft, but backed down from these remarks the following day.
Flightglobal contacted the ATSB and
The completion of the Bluefin-21’s search closes the first chapter of the hunt for MH370. The
The mapping of the ocean floor will take up to three months. This will be followed by a renewed underwater search, which will commence in August.
The release of the data is part of an effort to bring greater transparency to the search for MH370, the loss of which claimed the lives of 227 passengers and 12 crew. The disclosure of the Inmarsat data will also give external consultants and experts an opportunity to examine the data, which has so far provided the only clue to the final position of the lost aircraft.