Australia Searches for Malaysia Airlines MH370 Debris

By MarEx 2014-03-23 06:12:00

Search operations in the Southern Indian Ocean for the missing Malaysia Airlines aircraft continued without success on Sunday in the Australian Search and Rescue Region. 
 
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) reiterates this is a challenging search operation and continues to hold grave fears for the passengers and crew on board the missing flight. Several small objects of interest were identified by air observers on a civil aircraft in Saturday’s search. 
 
A Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) P3 Orion aircraft with specialist electro-optic observation equipment was diverted to the location, arriving after the first aircraft left but only reported sighting clumps of seaweed. The RNZAF P3 Orion dropped a datum marker buoy to track the movement of the material. Further attempts are being made to establish whether the objects sighted are related to MH370. 
 
Saturday, China provided a satellite image to Australia possibly showing a 22.5 metre floating object in the southern Indian Ocean. AMSA plotted the position and it fell within Saturday’s search area. The object was not sighted during yesterday’s search. 
 
AMSA has used this information in the development of the search area, taking drift modelling into account. Sunday’s search was split into two areas within the same proximity covering 59,000 square kilometres about 2500 kilometres south-west of Perth. These areas have been determined by drift modelling. 
 
A total of eight aircraft have been tasked by AMSA’s Rescue Coordination Centre to undertake the search activities. The civil aircraft are two Bombardier Global Express, a Gulfstream 5 and an Airbus 319. HMAS Success is also conducting search activities. 
 
A total of 20 State Emergency Service (SES) volunteers from Western Australia have been tasked as air observers on the civil jets today. Each civil aircraft will have five SES air observers on board, as well as an AeroRescue Aviation Mission Coordinator. Aerorescue is AMSA’s contracted provider of dedicated search and rescue services from locations across Australia. 
 
Two Chinese military Ilyushin IL-76 aircraft have arrived at RAAF Base Pearce. AMSA has been advised that these aircraft will be ready for tasking on Monday.