Australian authorities, who are leading the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, on Wednesday released pictures of the floor of the Indian Ocean where officials hope to locate the debris of the missing plane. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) said that the pictures revealed "important" details about the seafloor, which would assist in the search for the plane that went missing on March 8.
The images were taken by the GO Phoenix vessel, which is scouring the seafloor for remains of the plane that has been missing for over nine months. Fugro Discovery, another vessel, is also conducting an underwater search for the missing Boeing 777. The broader search is being conducted by the Joint Agency Coordination Centre, a collaborative effort between Australia, Malaysia and China.
“The underwater search aims to map the MH370 debris field in order to identify and prioritise the recovery of specific aircraft components, including flight recorders, which will assist with the Malaysian investigation,” ATSB said, in a statement on its website, adding: “The equipment used on the vessels is providing extraordinary data.”
Over 9,000 square kilometers (5,592 miles) of the ocean floor has been searched so far and about 200,000 square kilometers (124,274 miles) of the search area has been surveyed, according to ATSB. The primary search area is an arc of 60,000 square kilometers (37,282 miles), starting about 1,800 kilometers (1,118 miles) off the Australian coast, the Daily Mail reported.
“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,” ATSB said, in the statement, adding: “The plan includes search timings, methods, procedures, safety precautions and the initial search areas for the various vessels.”
Despite the authorities' confidence that they are using the correct methods for the search, concerns remain that the plane, which disappeared with 239 on board while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, may never be found.