Next phase of search for MH 370 begins

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Boeing 777-200ER Malaysia Airlines 9M-MRO - MSN 28420 404, the missing aircraft

Image: Laurent ERRERA

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 370 crash map

Image: ChristianELDEN

Months after the end of the aerial search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which went missing with 239 people aboard over the South China Sea between Malaysia and Vietnam on March 8, underwater search efforts began a second phase on Monday.

Initial maps of the sea floor were not clear enough to assist in the search. Since suspension of the initial search, the Australian government has been constructing a clearer sea-floor map, essential for the search and to ensure no underwater collision with remains of the aircraft. Back in May, a signal consistent with that of a radio beacon was detected in the area, but nothing turned up that helped with the search.

In this phase, the Australian government has started using a special vessel, the GO Phoenix, for undersea debris search.

The GO Phoenix has special technology using sonar to search underwater for possible debris of the flight. The special equipment is able to search far enough above the ocean floor that it shouldn't hit any debris, according to Martin Dolan of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), which is coordinating the search. Each segment of the search could last for several weeks before resupply in Western Australia.

Additional ships, from Dutch company Fugro Survey, are to join the search in upcoming weeks.

This isn't the only incident with a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777. Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, another 777, was shot down near the UkraineRussia border on July 17.