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Authorities: MH370 search operations coming to an end


06-28-2016 01:06 BJT

The search for the missing Malaysian passenger flight MH370 is coming to an end. Authorities say they have almost finished scouring a large section of the Southern Indian Ocean where they believe the plane went down. But after 2 years of looking - search crews have not been able to find many clues.

This is where the series of ships used in the search for MH370 - dock to refuel and stock up - here in Western Australia for a few days before heading back out to the search area.

The ships - equipped with high tech sonar technology - along with Ariel searches - have covered about 90% of the 120,000 square kilometre area where authorities believe MH370 may have gone down.

Although various pieces of the plane have washed up in Reunion Island and Mozambique - authorities admit they are still no closer to finding the plane, and knowing what happened.

Part of the problem is the area they are searching - a turbulent part of the Southern Indian Ocean known for having some of the worst weather imaginable to conduct this kind of needle in the haystack search.

"You have to remember when you are looking in the ocean for any object it is 4 or 5 kilometres down and you’ve basically got your eyes closed and you don’t know where you are going, you’ve got very rough conditions so it is a very challenging environment to look at it," Chair Pattiaratchi with University of Western Australia said.

In March of 2014, MH370 disappeared shortly after taking off from Kuala Lumpur bound for Beijing with 239 people on board.

Coastal Oceanographer Chari Pattiaratchi was one of the first people to successfully predict that currents would carry parts of the plane to Reunion Island and Mozambique which were positively identified as being from MH370. He says despite the work and the technology used in the search - it shouldn’t be surprising that the plane has not been found.

"It’s a combination of not knowing where to look and it’s bigger problem than actually finding where it is - that’s the bigger issue," Pattiaratchi said.

He believes MH370 will be found - but stressed it will take time - well beyond the current search timeline.

"Probably a little pause would actually be good to re assess and actually say what can we do better because in all of these it has been go go go because there has been a lot of pressure from the public from various sources," Pattiaratchi said.

The Australian Transportation Safety Bureau says it is doing further work to test its assumptions about the end of the flight - how far MH370 may have travelled before it went down.

In the meantime the current search is expected to wrap up possibly in August. Authorities say if no credible evidence is found pointing to the plan’s whereabouts - that search will come to an end.

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