Hunt for Missing Malaysia Airlines Plane to Continue with Deep Water Survey
Malaysia, Australia in Talks Over Bill for Search
Australian officials announced plans to conduct a deep-water survey in the search area for the missing Malaysia Airlines aircraft while the two governments met to discuss how to split the bill for the search itself.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau announced that it had engaged Fugro Survey, a deep-water survey company, to conduct a bathymetric survey of the seafloor in the search area for Flight 370 last week.
The survey will map the search zone and chart the seafloor’s contours and depths in waters up to 19,685 feet (6,000 meters). The information is necessary for the deep-water search that is slated to begin in August.
The agency said that Fugro will use a state-of-the-art vessel, the MV Fugro Equator, that is equipped with a deep-water multibeam echo sounder system and manned by expert survey personnel.
It will work alongside the Chinese PLA-Navy ship Zhu Kezhen, which already commenced bathymetric survey operations in the area.
The ATSB said that it will use the survey results to “progressively build up a map of the search area.” The process covering a 23,166-square-mile (60,000-square-kilometer) area is expected to take three months.
Meanwhile, the cost of the search continues to mount and government officials from Australia and Malaysia met over the weekend to discuss how to split the bill. Australia has said it will have spent 90 million Australian dollars ($84 million) on the search by July 2015. Malaysia is reportedly suggesting a 50-50 split but Australia may not wish to assume. “I don’t want to give any indication as to where it’s likely to end up,” Australian Transport Minister Warren Truss told the Associated Press on Friday. “We are talking about this with the Malaysians and other countries who have got a key interest.”
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, and is thought to have crashed into the southern Indian Ocean far off the west Australian coast. No sign of the aircraft or the 239 passengers and crew on board has been found.
(Photo: Accura Media Group)