1 May 2014
Little has changed in the search for Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight 370, which went missing nearly two months ago. Indeed, the only substantial changes involved the suspension of the aerial search earlier this week, with authorities admitting that, by now, “it is highly unlikely…that we will find any debris on the ocean surface.”
Going forward, the search will focus on scouring the sea floor with highly sophisticated unmanned robotic submarines.
These are the same submarines, namely the US Navy’s Bluefin 21, that were dispatched to investigate the mysterious pings emanating from the seafloor three weeks ago. The underwater search in the neighborhood of the pings ultimately yielded nothing.
The new direction, which will include private contractors, appears to thus far be disregarding a claim from Australian geophysical survey company GeoResonance, which says it has found an anomaly on the ocean floor in the Bay of Bengal. The company says it found a number of metals and materials underwater that fit the profile of the missing Boeing 777 about 100 miles off the coast of Bangladesh. The company specializes in locating materials, everything from specific metals to nuclear weapons materials, underwater and underground.
Search officials have been skeptical of the claim, noting that the location is very far outside the current search area. Authorities were led to the southern Indian Ocean, off the coast of Australia, based on satellite data that is believed to have tracked the jet to the area. Should the satellite data be errant, the jet had more than enough fuel to have made it to the location in question. GeoReconosance stopped short of saying they believe it is the jet, only that it should be checked out.
With no other leads and still no physical trace of the jet whatsoever, it could be years before the airplane is located, if ever. Authorities remain dedicated to continuing the search, however long it is.
The only modern day comparison would be the search for Air France 447, which took two years to locate even with a pretty solid idea of where it went down.