Best lead for Flight 370 remains ignored while offical admits search is 'most difficult in history'
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
5/12/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
Australian chief, Angus Huston, the man in charge of coordinating the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, says the search is the most difficult one for an airplane in history. Meanwhile, a British firm says it will begin offering worldwide tracking of all flights.
The Bluefin 21, is a submersible capable of mapping the seafloor. It has not yet located flight 370 after multiple dives in the primary search area.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - In 2009, an Air France jetliner flew into foul weather over the Atlantic while untracked by radar. Flying into a pocket of freezing rain, the craft's pitot system malfunctioned which set off a cockpit alarm. In th3e subsequent confusion, the plane's pilots caused the plane to stall and crash into the turbulent sea below. The recovery took months.
Despite the difficulty of that recovery, far out in the mid-Atlantic ocean, searchers managed to find and recover wreckage from the plane. Divers went down and retrieved as much as possible. That search was regarded as the most difficult recovery effort in history. Now, even that quest may be eclipsed.
Malaysia Airlines flight 370 was lost on March 8, after being flown off course for reasons that remain unknown. The flight's transponder was switched off and no radio communications were sent out following its departure from the flight plan. Military radar tracked the plane as it flew west over the Indian Ocean. Satellite data from on-board transmitters that evaluated the health of the engines, continued pinging for hours afterwards, suggesting that the plane veered south into the wide expanse of the Indian Ocean.
It is widely hypothesized that the plane ran out of fuel and crashed into the ocean. Not a single shred of debris or other evidence of its impact have been found. Authorities do not believe the plane landed, but instead crashed into the sea.
No single theory, not an accident, nor a hijacking by a passenger or the pilot, makes any sense.
Houston noted that searchers had better leads when hunting for Air France 447. "Whereas Air France, they had a very good last known position, which then turned out to be very close to where the aircraft was eventually found," he told CNN.
Houston still believes MH370 will be found somewhere in the pre-defined search area. He also acknowledged the public interest in the case and vowed that the plane would be found. "I think eventually we will find the aircraft."
Houston may be correct, however if estimates about the plane's most likely resting place are wrong, then it could take years, even decades before someone happens upon the wreckage at the bottom of the sea floor.
Meanwhile, others have moved beyond the tragedy to find ways to prevent such disappearances once and for all. UK-based Inmarsat, a company that operates satellites to monitor aircraft systems in real-time, said they would not begin offering free worldwide tracking of all aircraft. The service would not be an upgrade, but would simply be standardized. Any time a plane veered off course, or experienced any other "trigger event" a message would be sent by satellite including the location of the plane.
Inmarsat's shares went up on the news. Already, such tracking is standard on most of the world's long-haul airliners.
The European Aviation Safety Agency said it would propose to improve underwater location devices on flight data recorders to help in such searches.
Meanwhile, the search continues for MH370. An earlier lead from the prospecting firm GeoResonance, which suggests the plane could be in the Bay of Bengal has not been properly pursued. The location of their find is accurate to within 500 sq meters, and Bangladesh said it would send three ships to search the area. However, three ships shouldn't be needed to check one spot and it's unclear if they have the ability to check the sea floor properly.
On one issue, the experts seem unanimous: the search for MH370 will probably take a very long time.
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