Monday, March 7, 2016

MH370 search team says plane could be found by July

Almost two years after its disappearance, the man heading the Malaysia Airlines MH370 search team told The Guardian it is "very likely" the plane will be found by July as the mission enters its final stage. Since March 31, 2014, Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) head Martin Dolan and his team have been scouring the seafloor of the southern Indian Ocean in search of the elusive plane. As of now, four ships have covered more than 85,000sq km of a long but narrow "seventh arc", 120,000sq km of seafloor in total. He was quoted as saying that the plane could be in the 30,000-odd sq km yet to be searched, and would be found when the operation concludes four months from now. "It's as likely on the last day (of the search) as on the first that the aircraft would be there. "We've covered nearly three-quarters of the search area, and since we haven't found the aircraft in those areas, that increases the likelihood that it's in the areas we haven't looked at yet," Guardian reported him as saying. However, the search team has been criticised, saying that the US$133.3 million operation is a failure. "We now know that there's a range of those places the aircraft isn't in, but that hasn't changed the overall probability that the aircraft is in the total search area," Dolan told the UK daily. "To eliminate that from the search – assuming we don't find the aircraft – we have the cover the whole area. "We've still got some serious area to cover, including some areas in the assessment that are highly prospective for finding the aircraft, and the aircraft's very likely there. "We'll cover those very thoroughly and I hope our next conversation is going to be about how we found the aircraft." In February, Dolan told British daily The Times that if MH370 could not be found in the next few months, it would have to provide an explanation and alternative to governments. "And the alternative is, frankly, that despite all the evidence, the possibility that someone was at the controls of that aircraft and gliding it… if we eliminate all of the current search area. "If we haven't found it, then we'll have to be contemplating… that there were control inputs into that aircraft at the end of its flight," Dolan was quoted as saying. Just a few days ago a piece of debris believed to be from the plane was found along the eastern African coast between Mozambique and Madagascar while a second piece of flotsam was found on Reunion Island. Last July, a flaperon wing was washed up on the shores of Reunion. Guardian reported that ATSB's search efforts are driven by what is known as the "ghost flight" theory – that no one was at the controls when the plane went down. The ATSB's modelling showed that, after running out of fuel, the plane would have crashed in the southern Indian Ocean, off the coast of Western Australia. – March 7, 2016.]]>

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