The probably-final attempt at finding MH370, the Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 missing since March 2014, has commenced.
The initial search effort led by Australian authorities could not find the plane after more than two years scouring the sea floor in remote southern areas of the Indian ocean. Australia, India and China, which funded the search, all gave up despite new analysis suggesting the search area did not include the plane’s likely resting place.
Interest in the plane’s fate, especially from the families of those aboard, then saw the Malaysian government strike a deal with US oceanographic survey company Ocean Infinity to search the new candidate areas on a no-find, no-fee basis.
Ocean Infinity’s been at it for months but hasn’t found the plane, even after searching beyond the main new target zones. With the Southern Hemisphere’s winter closing in, the company has now warned that weather “limits Ocean Infinity’s ability to continue working this year.”
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Its survey vessel Seabed Constructor therefore has one more mission planned, which will last until mid-June, weather permitting.
And if it doesn’t find the plane? Nobody knows what happens next. But Ocean Infinity at least has lots of data about a previously unknown part of the ocean floor and is pleased with the performance of its kit.
“I am pleased to say our technology has performed exceptionally well throughout the search and that we have collected significant amounts of high quality data in which we have full confidence,” said CEO Oliver Plunkett. “The results from the highly challenging Broken Ridge feature are particularly impressive.”
The CEO's also said he and his company are "determined" to find the plane, but its contract with Malaysia is not open-ended so there is a limit to the effort it will make. ®