Sydney: The search for the missing Malaysian jet suffered yet another blow today after Australia ruled out a large area in the Indian Ocean where four acoustic signals were detected as the final resting place of the plane.
The Autonomous Underwater Vehicle, Bluefin-21, completed its last mission searching the remaining areas in the vicinity of the acoustic signals detected in early April by the Towed Pinger Locator deployed from the Australian ship Ocean Shield.
“The data collected on yesterday’s mission has been analysed. As a result, the Joint Agency Coordination Centre can advise that no signs of aircraft debris have been found by the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle since it joined the search effort,” the Joint Agency Coordination Centre that is leading the search said.
“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 judgment, the area can now be discounted as the final resting place of MH370,” it said.
Since the Bluefin-21 has been involved in the search, it has scoured over 850 square kilometres of the ocean floor looking for signs of the missing aircraft.
The Beijing-bound Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 – carrying 239 people, including five Indians, an Indo-Canadian and 154 Chinese nationals – had mysteriously vanished on March 8 after taking off from Kuala Lumpur.
The Ocean Shield departed the search area last night and Chinese survey ship Zhu Kezhen has already begun conducting the bathymetric survey—or mapping of the ocean floor of the areas provided by the ATSB.
Meanwhile, A US Navy official today said the acoustic pings at the center of the search for missing Malaysia Airlines plane in the southern Indian Ocean for the past seven weeks did not come from the plane’s black boxes.
“Authorities now almost universally believe the pings did not come from the onboard data or cockpit voice recorders but instead came from some other man-made source unrelated to the jetliner that disappeared on March 8,” US Navy deputy director of ocean engineering Michael Dean was quoted as saying by CNN.
“If the pings had come from the recorders, searchers would have found them,” he said.
As advised by Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss, the search for MH370 would continue and will now involves three major stages.
These stages would comprise reviewing all existing information and analysis to define a search zone of up to 60,000 sq km along the arc in the southern Indian Ocean; conducting a bathymetric survey to map the sea floor in the defined search area; and acquiring the specialist services required for a comprehensive search of the sea floor in that area.