Call to extend search for missing MH370

SYDNEY/KUALA LUMPUR: Investigators searching for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 have recommended extending the search by an additional 25,000 sq km, to an area further north in the Indian Ocean, after conceding for the first time they were probably looking in the wrong spot.
Australia, one of three search countries, rejected the recommendation citing a lack of “credible evidence” to extend the search, leaving it unclear whether Chinese and Malaysian search teams will finance a prolonged search.
“The report does not give a specific location for the missing aircraft and so we need credible evidence that identifies the specific location of the aircraft to extend the search,” a spokeswoman for Australia’s Infrastructure and Transport Minister Darren Chester said by telephone.
Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said it remains to be seen how the investigators’ report could help identify the specific location of the aircraft. The current 120,000 sq km underwater search area west of Australia in the Indian Ocean is due to be completed in January, with no sign of the missing jet.
Flight MH370 disappeared in March 2014 with 239 passengers and crew on board, most of them Chinese, en route to Beijing from the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur. Its whereabouts have become one of the world’s greatest aviation mysteries.
The recommendation to extend the search followed a meeting in November between crash investigators, satellite communication and aviation experts including Boeing and government representatives from Malaysia, China and Australia.
The search coordinator, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), issued advice on Tuesday that new evidence derived from ocean drift modelling and further analysis of satellite communications with the aircraft and washed-up debris helped determine the new area.
“There is a high degree of confidence that the previously identified underwater area searched to date does not contain the missing aircraft,” the ATSB report said. — Reuters