The mini-submarine in the hunt for flight MH370 has completed more than 80% of an area believed to be the best hope of finding wreckage from the aircraft, though no contacts of interest have been found.
Australia’s Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) today said that the Bluefin-21 AUV is completing its 10th mission in a remote stretch of the southern Indian Ocean, approximately 855 kilometres northwest of Perth, where searchers located pings believed to have from originated from the jetliner’s black boxes.
The focused underwater search area is defined as a circle of 10km radius around the second Towed Pinger Locator detection which occurred on 8 April.
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported today that no decision has been made about what the next step will be if the wreckage isn't found in the area, according to the Australian agency coordinating the search.
"We are consulting closely with our international partners on the best way forward with the search," the agency said. "At this point, no decision about a transition to the next phase has been made."
WSJ also said that other organisations are ready to provide submersibles that can go deeper than the Bluefin. Among them is the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, which helped recover the black boxes from an Air France plane that crashed into the Atlantic Ocean in 2009.
Bloomberg said yesterday that calls are growing for a review of the current search area for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, six weeks after the search failed to find any object related to the jet.
The business portal said that there was pessimism not only on the signals detected in the southern Indian Ocean, which were believed to be from the flight recorders of the plane, but also on the location where the plane was said to have ended its flight.
Bloomberg’s report comes amid increasing frustration between relatives of those on board the plane and Malaysian authorities.
Sara Bacj, whose partner, American passenger Philip Wood was aboard flight MH370, sent an angry email to the media questioning the credibility of the satellite analysis which concluded that flight MH370 had ended in the southern Indian Ocean.
Bacj demanded an explanation from Putrajaya on why it went with the analysis by Inmarsat, the British satellite company.
"They have failed to share why they would accept a single source (Inmarsat) for analysis utilising a never-before-attempted method, as their sole grounds for determining that the plane is under the water and all lives lost," WSJ quoted her email sent to the media.
Search operations today will see up to 10 military aircraft and 12 ships participating in the lookout for flight MH370. The JACC, however, said that weather conditions may affect today’s air search. – April 23, 2014.