September 27, 2021

US firm begins final search for MH370 with underwater drones

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A United States-based seabed exploration firm finalized a deal to continue searching for the missing flight MH370 with the Malaysian government on Friday, according to Newsweek.

It’s been almost three years since the Malaysian Airlines flight disappeared with 239 people on board while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in March 2014.

There were massive search efforts for traces of the plane led by Australia, China, and Malaysia but their efforts ended last January.

However, the Malaysian government accepted the offer from U.S. company Ocean Infinity to resume the search on a “no cure, no fee” basis so the company would only find payment if they are able to find the plane.

The MH Family Support Center sent out an email that was reported on by Reuters that said the government accepted the offer from the exploration firm.

A government spokesman declined to confirm to Reuters that the email was sent but did say that more details about the agreement would be released in the future.

A report was released by Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in August that identified three locations off the coast of Western Australia as potential crash sites, which is just north of the former search zone and less than a third of its size.

Ocean Infinity spoke to Newsweek this week and said it would be focusing in that direction.

Reuters reported that shipping data displayed the firm’s vessel departing from Durban, South Africa, on Tuesday and was heading in the direction of Perth, Australia.

The ship is likely to reach the search zone by mid-January and now that the project has been approved the team should be able to launch its search immediately after arrival.

A number of debris pieces of the aircraft have been found along the Indian Ocean and along Africa’s east coast, with at least three having been confirmed to belonging to the missing plane.

Investigators think that someone may have intentionally turned off the transponder of the Boeing 77 before diverted it over the Indian Ocean.

The underwater searches for the aircraft have so far been unproductive, aside from the small pieces near the island country Mauritius, the French island Reunion, and an island off the coast of Tanzania.

Ocean Infinity will use several autonomous submarines called HUGINs, which are six meters long and contain a titanium sphere to protect the sensitive electronics inside from the pressure of the ocean’s depths.

Ocean Infinity is renting a Norwegian research vessel in order to conduct the search for the missing plane and with the underwater drones can cover far more ground than the previous searches.

The technical director of Ocean Infinity, Joshua Broussard, said that in previous searches it has been able to scan 890 square kilometers a day but with eight submarines the new mission should be able to cover 1,200 square kilometers a day, enough to cover the original search area in just 100 days., Maureen Foody

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