The underwater search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 found an oil barrel and cable debris but no sign of the missing jet, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) said Wednesday. The agency, which is leading the search for the Boeing 777-200, released sonar images of the man-made objects that are currently being examined by a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV).
"The underwater search continues with an AUV searching areas of challenging terrain and an ROV examining a range of sonar contacts which have been previously identified. Over the past week, ROV missions have revealed those contacts to be geological or man-made objects," ATSB said. "Dive 17 identified a contact cluster as geological comprising basaltic rock outcrops on a slope."
ATSB said in its operational update that the search for the missing plane continues in a remote part of the southern Indian Ocean. Last month, the agency said that the search operation delayed due to poor weather condition. Authorities believe that the search will be completed by around January/February 2017.
The search update also gave details about the search vessels conducting the operation. Fugro Equator is continuing underwater search operations in the north of the 46,000 square-mile search area using the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV). So far, the vessel has undertaken a total of 21 missions in the latest segment of the search. The vessel also successfully completed five AUV missions this week.
Dong Hai Jiu 101 is using the Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) in the south of the search area. The vessel has conducted a total of 24 ROV dives during the latest swing.
Flight MH370 went missing on March 8, 2014, with 239 people on board while on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. A multimillion-dollar search for the missing plane has so far yielded no concrete clues as to the plane's whereabouts. The underwater search is expected to be completed by early 2017, following which the search will be suspended if no credible clues are found leading to the plane's fate.
Below are the photos shared by ATSB in its latest operational update: