The missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 is “very likely” to be found by July, the Australian Transport Safety Board (ATSB) chief told the Guardian. The report comes after potential Boeing 777 debris, suspected to be from the plane, was found in southeast African nation of Mozambique late February.
Martin Dolan, the ATSB chief, said his team searched about three-quarters of more than 46,000 square miles of seafloor without luck, and there are chances that the plane could be in the remaining area, the Guardian reported Monday. According to the ATSB’s modeling, MH370 would have crashed in the southern Indian Ocean, off the Western Australia coast, after it ran out of fuel.
“We now know that there’s a range of those places the aircraft isn’t in, but that hasn’t changed the overall probability that the aircraft is in the total search area,” Dolan told the newspaper. “To eliminate that from the search – assuming we don’t find the aircraft – we have the cover the whole area,” he said adding, “We’ve still got some serious area to cover, including some areas in the assessment that are highly prospective for finding the aircraft, and the aircraft’s very likely there.”
A multimillion-dollar search operation has been underway for nearly two years in a remote part of the southern Indian Ocean, with no solid clues about the Boeing 777-200 aircraft’s whereabouts. Search vessels have so far combed 32,818 square miles of the total 46,332 square miles of designated search area. Authorities also have said the search is due to be called off in June if no wreckage is found.
Meanwhile, authorities in Mozambique will investigate the piece of wreckage found last month for any links to the Beijing-bound Flight MH370, which went missing on March 8, 2014 with 239 people on board after taking from Kuala Lumpur. After the debris was found, Malaysia’s Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said there was a “high possibility” the wreckage belongs to a Boeing 777 plane, the same type as Flight MH370.
Dolan, however, noted that “the alternative scenarios might apply” in case the plane is not found. These include the “controlled glide” theory, in which someone controlled the plane at the time it went down, and would involve an area three times as big, the Guardian report added.
“At some point, whatever the total of the evidence is, is going to have to be assessed and a conclusion reached as to the most likely solution to the mystery. ... The only question really is, how extensive that information will be,” Dolan reportedly said.
On Monday, relatives of a dozen Chinese passengers of the Flight MH370 also began filing lawsuits against Malaysia Airlines at a Beijing court Monday — a day ahead of the second anniversary of the plane's disappearance — for wrongful deaths, Agence France-Presse reported. Under international agreements, families can sue over air accidents within two years.