MH370 Operational Search Update—
29 April 2015
This operational report has been developed to provide regular updates on the progress of the search effort for MH370. Our work will continue to be thorough and methodical, so sometimes weekly progress may seem slow. Please be assured that work is continuing and is aimed at finding MH370 as quickly as possible.
Key developments this week
- GO Phoenix arrived back in the search area on Thursday, 23 April and recommenced search operations in the northern part of the search area.
- Fugro Discovery continues to conduct search operations to the west of the 7th arc with a focus on the south in order to maximise coverage in this area prior to the deterioration of weather conditions as winter approaches.
- Fugro Equator continues to conduct operations to the east of the 7th arc with a focus on the south in order to ensure that this area is searched ahead of the expected deterioration in weather conditions.
- Fugro Supporter continues to conduct search operations within the search area. Unfavourable weather conditions have hampered the deployment of the AUV with the vessel obliged to go on stand-by and wait for conditions to abate.
As noted in last week's update, at a meeting of Ministers from Australia, Malaysia and the People's Republic of China held in Kuala Lumpur on 16 April 2015, it was agreed that should the aircraft not be found within the current search area, the search will be extended by an additional 60,000 square kilometres to bring the search area to 120,000 square kilometres, thereby covering the entire highest probability area identified by expert analysis.
The communiqué from the Ministerial meeting is available at: www.jacc.gov.au/media/communiques/2015/april/com003.aspx.
In the event the aircraft is found and accessible, Ministers agreed to plans for recovery activities including securing all the evidence necessary for the accident investigation.
[Click map to view larger image]
The Search Strategy Working Group continues to review evidence associated with MH370 which may result in further refinement of the search area.
The decision by all three countries on 16 April 2015 to expand the search area has led to consideration of the best search plan to ensure continuous operations during winter in the southern hemisphere, and to ensure that the entire 120,000 square kilometre area is searched as quickly and effectively as possible. This work is expected to be finalised in the next few weeks. The onset of winter and generally unfavourable weather conditions means however that searching the entire area of highest probability will likely take around a year to complete.
Sea swells of three to five metres will impact upon the search area in the next couple of days. Although conditions will improve on Friday, the longer term forecast is set to impact upon the entire search area. The coming adverse weather systems are indicative of the unfavourable sea conditions that will affect search operations in the colder months.