Free Newsletters - Space News - Defense Alert - Environment Report - Energy Monitor
by Staff Writers
Canberra (AFP) May 05, 2014
Officials Monday said it could be up to two months before new, more sophisticated equipment will be in the water to help the search for flight MH370 across what will be largely unmapped ocean floor.
The hunt for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane that disappeared on March 8 carrying 239 people was scaled back last week after coming up with nothing, despite an air and sea search of 4.64 million square kilometres of the southern Indian Ocean.
Australia on Monday hosted a meeting in Canberra with the transport ministers of Malaysia and China to determine the way forward, which will focus on an intensified undersea search.
China is involved because two-thirds of the passengers were Chinese, while the plane is believed to have gone down in Australia's search and rescue territory.
Australian Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss admitted the hunt will take time, with the ocean bed in the prospective search zone several kilometres deep and largely unmapped, meaning specialist sonar equipment and other autonomous vehicles are needed.
He said a tender process would start soon to acquire them, but it would likely be two months before the equipment was actually in the water, while more oceanographic mapping was required to better understand where they would be looking.
"We are optimistic that we can do most of this in the space of one to two months so we will actually have more hardware in the water within a couple of months," he said after meeting Malaysian Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein and Chinese counterpart Yang Chuantang.
"In the interim we'll still have the Bluefin-21 working and we'll get going on the oceanographic work that needs to be done so they'll be no long interruptions in this search."
A submersible Bluefin-21 has been scouring the seabed in an area where undersea transmissions were detected, believed to have come from the plane's black box flight recorders before their batteries died.
It was due back in Perth with the Australian navy vessel Ocean Shield on Monday for maintenance and software modifications before returning to the search zone.
Once back in the Indian Ocean it will be joined by a dedicated team of vessels from Australia, Malaysia and China. An Australian P-3 Orion jet will also be available to follow-up any leads.
Truss added that international experts will from Wednesday begin re-examining satellite imagery and all the data collated so far, while the Joint Agency Coordinating Centre, which has been organising the search, will be moved from Perth to Canberra.
He refused to put a time frame on when the plane might be found.
"We obviously have no idea when it's likely to be found, we just always hope it is tomorrow," he said.
"But so far our very, very best leads, and on days when we were quite confident that it was going to be the day, have all proved fruitless so it would be unduly optimistic to name a day or time."
Bringing Order To A World Of Disasters
A world of storm and tempest
When the Earth Quakes
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.|