False and inaccurate media report on the search for MH370
25 July 2016
An article published in The Australian today by Byron Bailey in relation to the search for MH370 contains inaccurate information and false assertions. In the interests of providing a transparent and accurate account, the ATSB considers it necessary to correct the record.
Firstly, Mr Bailey claims that the company contracted by the ATSB to conduct the search, Fugro, believes they are looking in the wrong place.
Debris examination – update No. 1
Identification of two items of debris recovered in Mozambique
On 27 December 2015 and 27 February 2016, two items of debris were independently found, approximately 220km apart, on the Mozambique coast. Both items were delivered to the relevant Civil Aviation Authorities in Mozambique and South Africa in early March 2016.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau has today released a Technical Examination Report into the findings of the examination of debris recovered from beaches in South Africa and Mauritius.
The two pieces of debris—designated in the report as Part Numbers 3 and 4—were initially examined at the Geoscience Australia facility for the presence of marine ecology and remnants of biological material prior to examination by the ATSB.
Part Number 3 found in South Africa has been confirmed as a segment from an engine cowling.
With over 62% of the 120,000 square kilometre search zone for missing Malaysian flight MH 370 now complete in the Indian Ocean, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss today provided details of the focus in the remaining search area.
“The Search Strategy Working Group, coordinated by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has conducted ongoing examination of available data since the disappearance of flight MH370,” Mr Truss said.
“One element of that ongoing work has been to engage the Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG) t
Looking at past accidents, there is almost always some debris left floating after an aircraft crashes in water. The opportunity to locate and recover debris from the sea surface diminishes rapidly over the first few weeks from the time of a crash. Thereafter some less permeable items of debris will remain afloat for a longer period but they will be increasingly dispersed. To be found ashore, an item of debris must remain afloat long enough and be subjected to the right combination of wind and currents for it to make landfall.
GO Phoenix departed from Fremantle on 21 May, and arrived back in the search area on 26 May. Upon completion of the current swing, GO Phoenix will cease search operations and is expected to transit to Singapore.
Fugro Discovery arrived back in the search area on 22 May and is undertaking search operations.
Fugro Equator departed Fremantle on 21 May, and is expected to arrive in the search area on 28 May.
Key developments this week
•GO Phoenix is currently in the search area conducting underwater search operations.
•Fugro Discovery recommenced search operations on 25 February.
•Fugro Equator recommenced search operations on 27 February.
•Fugro Supporter departed Fremantle on 21 February and after calibrating her AUV sensors on the test range departed for the search area on 23 February. The vessel arrived in the search area on 28 February.
•More than 26,000 square kilometres (over 40 percent) of the priority zone have now been searched.