Peter Foley of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) is confident in solving the biggest aviation mystery of our era. Mr. Foley is in charge of finding the remains of Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-2H6 ER 9M-MRO (msn 28420) (above) and the 239 souls on board. The search continues in the southern Indian Ocean. The wide body jetliner went missing somewhere in the Indian Ocean on March 8, 2014 while operating flight MH 370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. So far no trace of the missing flight has been located.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott of Australia this week told Parliament that the search for MH 370 “will go on at this intensity forever”. Clearly the clock is ticking in solving this mystery.
This article by the Sydney Morning Herald interviews Mr. Foley and summaries the current search for MH 370. He believes they are searching in the right area.
Read the full article: CLICK HERE
Yesterday (March 5) the ATSB issued this updated Operational Update on the search for MH 370:
At the request of the Malaysian Government, Australia has accepted responsibility for the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) is leading the underwater search for MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean.
This operational report has been developed to provide regular updates on the progress of the search effort for MH 370. Our work will continue to be thorough and methodical, so sometimes weekly progress may seem slow. Please be assured that work is continuing and is aimed at finding MH 370 as quickly as possible.
Key developments this week:
GO Phoenix is currently in the search area conducting underwater search operations.
Fugro Discovery recommenced search operations on February 25.
Fugro Equator recommenced search operations on February 27.
Fugro Supporter departed Fremantle on February 21 and after calibrating her AUV sensors on the test range departed for the search area on February 23. The vessel arrived in the search area on February 28.
More than 26,000 square kilometres (over 40 percent) of the priority zone have now been searched.
Map Above: ATSB. The Seventh Arc. The latest information and analysis confirms that MH 370 will be found in close proximity to the arc set out in the map and labelled as the 7th arc. At the time MH 370 reached this arc, the aircraft is considered to have exhausted its fuel and to have been descending. As a result, the aircraft is unlikely to be more than 20 NM (38 km) to the west or 30 NM (55 km) to the east of the arc.
Based on all the independent analysis of satellite communications and aircraft performance, the total extent of the 7th arc reaches from latitude 20 degrees S to 39 degrees S.
Map Below: ATSB. In addition to locating the aircraft, the underwater search aims to map the MH 370 debris field in order to identify and prioritise the recovery of specific aircraft components, including flight recorders, which will assist with the Malaysian investigation. The ATSB has utilised the data from the bathymetric survey work to prepare the initial plan for the underwater search, to be followed and referred to by all parties involved. The plan includes search timings, methods, procedures, safety precautions and the initial search areas for the various vessels.
There are three classifications for sonar contacts which are identified during the course of the underwater search. Classification 3 is assigned to sonar contacts that are of some interest as they stand out from their surroundings but have low probability of being significant to the search. Classification 2 sonar contacts are of comparatively more interest but are still unlikely to be significant to the search. Classification 1 sonar contacts are of high interest and warrant immediate further investigation.
The underwater search so far has identified over a hundred seabed features that have been classified as category 3. There have been more than 10 features that have been classified as category 2. These objects may be manmade, but expert analysis of the imagery advises that none of them resemble an aircraft debris field. Rather, they have been isolated objects, some of which have the dimensions of shipping containers. To date, no seabed features have been classified as category 1.
Source Above: ATSB and Phoenix International.
GO Phoenix will depart the search area around March 6 to travel to Fremantle for a scheduled resupply visit. The vessel is expected to arrive in port around March 11.
Fugro Equator will depart the search area around March 24 to travel to Fremantle for a scheduled resupply visit. The vessel is expected to arrive in port around April 1.
Fugro Discovery will depart the search area around March 24 to travel to Fremantle for a scheduled resupply visit. The vessel is expected to arrive in port around April 1.
Fugro Supporter will depart the search area around April 2 to travel to Fremantle for a scheduled resupply visit. The vessel is expected to arrive in port around April 8.
Crew life on board search vessels
The crew of the vessels engaged in the search for MH 370 are deeply committed to their task. Crew work night and day, for weeks at a time and often in difficult conditions, to launch the search equipment and to monitor and analyse the data collected. In the following interview, Mr Paul Kennedy of Fugro talks about the challenges that the ship and its crew face.
Aboard Fugro Discovery, Paul Kennedy of Fugro describes the ship, her crew, the specialist equipment used, and the trials to test the functionality of the equipment. He also talks about the challenges and conditions that the ship and its crew face.
Mr Kennedy is the project director for the search for MH 370 on behalf of Fugro.
Source: ATSB, video by ABIS Chris Beerens, RAN.
Top Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. 9M-MRO lands at Kuala Lumpur before it went missing.
Malaysia Airlines aircraft slide show: