MH370 search suspended

9M-MRO Boeing 777-2H6ER (MSN 28420/404) of Malaysia Airlines, taking off from Paris-Charles De Gaulle on 26 December 2011. This is the aircraft which disappeared on 8 March 2014 as flight MH370. Photo © Laurent Errera (Creative Commons license)
9M-MRO Boeing 777-2H6ER (MSN 28420/404) of Malaysia Airlines, taking off from Paris-Charles De Gaulle on 26 December 2011.
This is the aircraft which disappeared on 8 March 2014 as flight MH370. Photo © Laurent Errera (Creative Commons license)

17 January 2017 © David Eyre

The search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has sadly been suspended, as government authorities have been unable to locate the aircraft in the Indian Ocean.

MH370 has become one of the greatest mysteries in aviation history, with authorities unsuccessfully searching 120,000 square kilometres of the ocean floor.

A large number of unanswered questions remain, leading to a multitude of ideas, from conspiracy theorists and aviation experts – some of whom are credible and others less so.

Regardless, many people are still dumbfounded that with all of the modern technology available today, a large airliner can disappear.

Disappearance and search

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Known Flight Path
Map of the known flight path taken by Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 (MH370). Based on a map created by the Joint Investigation Team. Map by by A Heneen (Creative Commons).

The aircraft, a Boeing 777-200ER registered 9M-MRO, disappeared on 8 March 2014, while flying from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Beijing, China with 227 passengers and 12 crew aboard.

The initial search, led by the Malaysian Government, focused on the Gulf of Thailand, where its transponder last transmitted. However, the Malaysian military tracked the aircraft passing west, back over Malaysia, and then south, so another search area was added over the northern part of the Indian Ocean.

Following analysis of ACARS satellite data, it was found that MH370 continued to fly for over six hours after contact was lost. The available data indicated the aircraft entered the sea close to a long but narrow arc of the southern Indian Ocean, so the search efforts focused there.

An extensive search and rescue effort was undertaken by military and civilian aircraft and ships from several countries, but no debris was located.

In Western Australia, the search aircraft operated during March and April 2014, from RAAF Base Learmonth near Exmouth as well as RAAF Base Pearce (north of Perth) and Perth Airport.

See photos and information about the aircraft involved in the search for MH370 in 2014

On 31 March 2014, following an extensive sea and air search, the Malaysian Government accepted the Australian government’s offer to take the lead in the search and recovery operation in the southern Indian Ocean in support of the Malaysian accident investigation.On behalf of Australia, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) is leading search operations for MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean.

Personnel and eight of the multinational aircraft involved in the Australian air search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, at RAAF Base Pearce - Tue 29 April 2014. Photo: CPL Nicci Freeman, © Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence - 20140429raaf8227810_0084.
Personnel and eight of the multinational aircraft involved in the Australian air search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, at RAAF Base Pearce – Tue 29 April 2014.
Aircraft in the photo are (left to right):
5037 Lockheed (Kawasaki) P-3C-II½ Orion of the Japan Maritime Self Defence Force, 3 Kokutai. (RESCUE 932)
NZ4204 Lockheed P-3K2 Orion of the Royal New Zealand Air Force, 5 Squadron. (RESCUE 795)
168429/LF-429 Boeing P-8A Poseidon (737-8FV) of the US Navy, VP-16 ‘War Eagles’ (RESCUE 74/75)
21045 Ilyushin IL-76MD of People’s Liberation Army Air Force (China), 13th Transport Division, 39th Air Regiment. (RESCUE 802)
M30-09 Lockheed C-130H-MP Hercules of the Royal Malaysian Air Force, 20 Skuadron. (RESCUE 281)
A30-003 Boeing E-7A Wedgetail (737-7ES) of the Royal Australian Air Force, 2 Squadron. (RESCUE 108)
A9-664(?) Lockheed AP-3C Orion of the Royal Australian Air Force, 11 Squadron. (RESCUE 102/103/104/105)
950905 Lockheed P-3C-III+ Orion of Republic of Korea Navy, 613 Navy Squadron (RESCUE 86).
Photo: CPL Nicci Freeman, © Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence – 20140429raaf8227810_0084.
Chines PLA-Navy ship Zhu Kezhen (872) leaving Fremantle Harbour at 10:13 am Saturday 14 June 2014
Chines PLA-Navy ship Zhu Kezhen (872) leaving Fremantle Harbour at 10:13 am Saturday 14 June 2014
This ship was conducting a bathymetric survey (mapping the ocean floor) in the southern Indian Ocean in the hopes of finding the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370.
Photo © Keith Anderson
The Search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 (March 2014 to July
MH370 search areas – March 2014 to July 2015. Map by Andrew Heneen (Creative Commons)

Search suspended

At a meeting of Ministers from Malaysia, Australia and the People’s Republic of China held on 22 July 2016, it was agreed that should the aircraft not be located in the current search area, and in the absence of credible new evidence leading to the identification of a specific location of the aircraft, the search would be suspended upon completion of the current search area.

The Australian, Malaysian and Chinese governments issued a joint statement on 17 January 2017, that the search was suspended, but the decision was not taken lightly, or without sadness.

“Despite every effort using the best science available, cutting-edge technology, as well as modelling and advice from highly skilled professionals who are the best in their field, unfortunately, the search has not been able to locate the aircraft,” the statement said.

“Whilst combined scientific studies have continued to refine areas of probability, to date no new information has been discovered to determine the specific location of the aircraft.”

Ministers have reiterated that this does not mean the termination of the search. Should credible new information emerge that can be used to identify the specific location of the aircraft, consideration will be given to determining next steps.

David Eyre

President, Aviation Association of WA Inc

One thought on “MH370 search suspended

  • October 22, 2017 at 8:43 pm
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    I heard from the news that the search for the MH370 had resumed recently David and noticed that Malaysia had entered into a ‘no find, no fee’ arrangement with Ocean Infinity. It is argued that relatives of passengers onboard the doomed flight telling the authorities to search for the Missing aircraft. The plane was believed to have been destroyed as it plunged into the water.

    Reply

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