Bad weather and equipment failure have hampered the current search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) said Wednesday. The search for the Boeing 777-200 is concentrated in a remote part of the southern Indian Ocean and has been ongoing for over two years with no concrete clues as to the whereabouts of the jet.
ATSB, which is leading the search, announced that weather conditions have severely impacted the search, which has been delayed for six to eight weeks, giving rise to speculation that the scouring of the ocean floor may continue until October.
"Marginal weather conditions still allow the use of deep tow equipment provided conditions are such that the equipment can be safely deployed and recovered, however, the autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) which is used to survey some of the most difficult portions of the search area such as the underwater canyon areas that cannot be searched effectively using the deep tow sonar, can only be launched in the calmer conditions of spring and summer," ATSB said, in the statement.
The agency also said that delays related to equipment failure or crew incapacity may drag the search "well beyond the winter months."
So far, more than 42,471 square miles area of a total 46,332 square miles area has been scoured by search vessels.
Over the last few months, several debris pieces have been found near the South African region, of which authorities said only five may have come from the missing jet.
The first piece belonging to Flight MH370 was found in July 2015 — a flaperon that turned up on the French-controlled Réunion Island in the Indian Ocean.