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Australia ‘Refines’ Search for Missing Malaysian Plane

  • Phil Mercer

FILE - Children write messages of hope for passengers of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

FILE - Children write messages of hope for passengers of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

Senior ministers from Australia, Malaysia and China have again expressed their determination to find flight MH370 that vanished in March. Talks have been held in Canberra to discuss a new search for the Malaysian airliner that is thought to have crashed into the Indian Ocean to the west of the Australian city of Perth.

The disappearance of flight MH370 is the biggest mystery in modern aviation history.

A new deep-sea search covering more than a million square kilometers of the Indian Ocean further to the south is expected to start next month. So far, 87,000 square kilometers have been mapped in preparation for the full-scale search.

Australia's Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss said Thursday authorities will now focus “a little further to the south” within the present search area in the southern Indian Ocean.

Truss said the determination was made following further analysis of a failed attempt to contact the Boeing 777. He said the new information suggests the plane may have turned south earlier than previously thought.

Tracking tech

Authorities said Thursday they have further refined the search area based on analysis of a failed attempt to contact the airliner on March 8, the day it went missing.

Australian officials are cautiously optimistic that ships using sophisticated tracking technology will eventually find the Boeing 777.

Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss said every effort is being made to solve the mystery. “The level of international cooperation that has been associated with this search has been truly outstanding. The passengers and the families of MH370 have not left our thoughts, and we will do everything in our power to locate the aircraft and to help them find closure,” he said.

A new search mission, led by a Dutch company, will enter a mysterious deep-sea world far from the coast of the western Australian city of Perth.

Dutch-led ships will be equipped with sophisticated sonar tracking devices, multi-beam echo sounders and video cameras.

Deep sea floors

Analysis of recent work to survey the sea floor has found that parts of the Indian Ocean are up to 1.5 km deeper than previously thought.

The airliner vanished in early March on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 passengers and crew. Most were from China, with others from many other countries, including Australia and Malaysia.

At the end of the meeting Thursday, ministers reaffirmed their commitment to finding MH370.

China's Vice-Minister of Transport, He Jianzhong, who attended the meeting in Canberra, spoke to reporters.

"We are sure that through the joint efforts of all three parties, we will achieve what we've agreed to, and maintain the search efforts in finding MH370," said He. "The search will not be interrupted, will not be stopped, we will not give up.”

An agreement signed in Canberra will strengthen collaboration between China, Malaysia and Australia.