The search for the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 flight off the coast of Western Australia has been suspended after further analysis of what were thought to be pings from the aircraft’s black box flight data recorders.
Reports indicate the analysis of the sonar signals by the US Navy has found it is likely the pings were actually sounds from vessels in the search area rather from the missing aircraft, and that the relatively narrow field of view offered by the Bluefin-21 autonomous underwater vehicle was unlikely to find any wreckage until a more refined search area can be determined using sensors with a wider field of regard.
“Since 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,” a May 29 statement from the Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) reads. “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 judgement, the area can now be discounted as the final resting place of MH370.”
The findings are a further setback to the search effort which only recently resumed after initial efforts in March and April failed to find a trace of the missing 777.
“The expert satellite working group continues to review and refine complex analyses of radar and satellite data and aircraft performance data to determine where the aircraft most likely entered the water,” the JACC statement added. “The findings of the review will be made public in due course.”