News

MH370 search to drag on for 8 months, cost $55M

MH370 search to drag on for 8 months, cost $55M

SEARCH GOES ON:A man walks past graffiti of the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in Kuala Lumpur April 15. Photo: Reuters/Samsul Said

By Matt Siegel

SYDNEY (Reuters) – The chance of finding floating debris from a missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner has become highly unlikely, and a new phase of the search will focus on a far larger area of the Indian Ocean floor, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Monday.

The search effort for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, which vanished while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8 with 239 people on board, has so far failed to turn up any trace of wreckage from the plane.

Given the amount of time that has elapsed, Abbott said that efforts would now shift away from the visual searches conducted by planes and ships and towards underwater equipment capable of scouring the ocean floor with sophisticated sensors.

He admitted, however, that it was possible nothing would ever be found of the jetliner.

“We will do everything we humanly can, everything we reasonably can, to solve this mystery,” he told reporters in Canberra.

Malaysia, China, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Britain and the United States are assisting Australia in conducting the most expensive search in aviation history.

It remains unclear what caused the Boeing 777 to veer sharply off its course and disappear from radar as it prepared to cross into Vietnamese airspace.

Malaysian authorities have still not ruled out mechanical problems, but say evidence suggests it was deliberately diverted from its scheduled route.

Malaysia is under pressure to bring closure to the grieving families by finding wreckage to determine definitively what happened to the aircraft.

But the empty expanse of water northwest of the Australian city of Perth is one of the most remote places in the world and also one of the deepest, making the search complicated.

Authorities had been focusing on a 6.2 square mile stretch of seabed about 2,000 miles from Perth, after detecting what they suspected was a signal from the plane’s black box recorder on April 4.

The U.S. Navy Bluefin-21 underwater drone searching the seabed has so far failed to turn up any sign of the plane.

“We are still baffled and disappointed that we haven’t been able to find undersea wreckage based on those detections,” Abbott told reporters.

Abbott said that the new search area, which spans 435 miles by 40 miles, could take between 6-8 months to completely examine, at a cost to Australia of as much as $55.69 million.

The search operations have up until now been handled primarily as a military operation by the countries involved, but Abbott said that one or more commercial companies would be hired by Australia and Malaysia to handle the next phase.

Angus Houston, head of the Australian agency coordinating the search effort, offered a sobering assessment of the operation.

“We haven’t found anything anywhere that has any connection to MH370,” Houston said during the Abbott news conference. ($1 = 1.0774 Australian Dollars)

(Reporting by Matt Siegel; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore and Michael Perry)

Recent Headlines

in Lifestyle

Amazon offers 3D printing to customize products

Fresh
A box from Amazon.com is pictured on the porch of a house in Golden, Colorado on July 28, 2008.

Amazon will offer 3D printing services that allow customers to customize and build earrings, bobble head toys and other items.

in Lifestyle

U.S. doctor contracts Ebola in Liberia

Fresh
In this 2014 photo provided by the Samaritan's Purse aid organization, Dr. Kent Brantly, left, treats an Ebola patient at the Samaritan's Purse Ebola Case Management Center in Monrovia, Liberia. On Saturday, July 26, 2014, the North Carolina-based aid organization said Brantly tested positive for the disease and was being treated at a hospital in Monrovia.

American doctor, Kent Brantley, has tested positive for the tropical disease Ebola.

in Lifestyle

Pope Francis renews attack on mafia

Fresh
Pope Francis waves as he leads a mass at the palace of Caserta, former residences of the Royal House of Bourbon, in Caserta, southern Italy on July 26, 2014.

Pope Francis called for nature to be protected from criminal abuse during a visit in the southern Italian town of Caserta, near Naples.

in Entertainment

‘Lucy,’ ‘Hercules’ beat expectations at box offices

This image released by Paramount Pictures shows, from left, Aksel Hennie as Tydeus, Ingrid Bolsø Berdal as Atalanta, Dwayne Johnson as Hercules, Reece Ritchie as Iolaus, and Rufus Sewell as Autolycus in a scene from "Hercules."

Scarlett Johansson's "Lucy" collected $44 million to win the domestic box office race, outmuscling "Hercules" which took in $29 million.

in Viral Videos

Baby elephant meets a cat

Elephant Meets Cat

Maybe this elephant is more of a dog lover?