Bad winter delays MH370 search by up to two months, say authorities

Yesterday, foreign media had reported that the ATSB had chose to extend the search period for MH370 by another two months following the current bad weather conditions in the Indian Ocean.

In the Australian Transport Safety Bureau's weekly operational update on the MH370 search released Wednesday, officials revealed they were installing a robot on one of the two vessels scanning the ocean floor for wreckage.

Officials previously said more than 20 sonar contacts picked up by crews in recent months require closer examination by a sonar-equipped water drone. "However some exhibit man-made properties and therefore must be investigated further to be positively eliminated".

The ATSB predicts the search of the 75,000 square mile area will be completed in January or February due to winter weather conditions.

The Dong Hai Jiu 101 was in Fremantle this week being set up with the Remora III, a remotely operated vehicle with video cameras and high-tech sensors.

The shadow of a Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) P3 Orion maritime search aircraft can be seen on low-level clouds as it flies over the southern Indian Ocean looking for missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 March 31, 2014.

In what has been the most expensive search in aviation history, the authorities said they had searched 110,000 square km to date.

"None of the sonar contacts targeted for reacquisition exhibit the characteristics of a typical aircraft debris field and are therefore not classified as category 1 sonar contacts".

Three pieces of debris found on the shores of Mauritius, Pemba island off Tanzania and the island of Réunion off Madagascar have been confirmed as being from the missing plane.

Jailani said though the search had entered the third year, the government remains committed to continue the search and urged the next-of-kin of the MH370 victims to remain calm and have faith in the search team.

Malaysia, China and Australia agreed in July that the search in the southern Indian Ocean would be suspended after the current search site has been thoroughly examined with deep sea sonar equipment in the absence of credible new evidence that identified the plane's location.

  • Wendy Palmer