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Thursday, September 25, 2014



The underwater search for the missing Malaysia Airlines 370 will extend further south from the previously identified priority search area. The extension was decided after "recent refinement in the analysis" revealed a "greater certainty" about the specific point and time that the aircraft veered from its original flight path towards south into the Indian Ocean, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau or ATSB said in its Web site.

According to the bureau's statement, refined analysis produced a "better understanding of the parameters within which the satellite ground station was operating during the last flight of MH370." With this progress, "latest assessment of the highest priority areas" will most likely "extend south of the previous 'orange' priority area."

Underwater vehicles searching for MH370 are also being mobilised, according to ATSB. GO Phoenix was already equipped to endure harsh sea and weather conditions. The vessel left Jakarta on Sept 23 for "calibration area" and is estimated to arrive at the designated search area by Oct 1. The vessel is specifically tasked to conduct underwater search for 20 days before sailing to Fremantle for resupply.

Fugro Discovery had also been furnished and had started its voyage from Durban, South Africa to Australia. It is expected to disembark for new equipment and its mission crew will be in Fremantle by Oct 2. The Fugro Equator, the vessel that is currently conducting survey in the search area, will also be used as a search vessel, following the completion of the bureau's "bathymetric" review. The vessel is expected to conclude its survey by Oct 30. Fit-out work and all necessary tuning for these vessels are being jointly funded by Malaysia and Australia.

Australia is leading the search for the missing MH370 at the request of the Malaysian government. The underwater search of the defined 60,000-square kilometre zone priority search area is expected to take up to 12 months to complete - this excludes weather conditions that could hamper operations.  Over 41,300 square kilometres of the ocean floor of the high-priority search was already analysed and mapped. All data obtained by the surveying vessels are processed by Geoscience Australia to ensure safe and effective deep-water search.


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