MH370 wreckage not in Bay of Bengal, search team says

Aerial

A multinational aircrew and aircraft involved in operation “Southern Indian Ocean” are assembled for a photo at RAAF Base Pearce, in Perth, Western Australia on April 29, 2014. Seven nations, including Australia, New Zealand, the U.S., South Korea, Malaysia, China and Japan, have flown a daily search mission out to the southern Indian Ocean in the massive multinational hunt for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. (AP Photo/Australian Defence Force, Cpl. Nicci Freeman)

The Australian-led team searching for missing Malaysia Airlines jet MH370 has discounted claims by a private company that it may have found the plane’s wreckage in the Bay of Bengal, thousands of kilometres from the official search area.

The Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC), which is officially co-ordinating the search for the flight that disappeared on March 8, said it was “satisfied that the final resting place of the missing aircraft is in the southerly portion of the search arc” in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of Perth.

On Tuesday, Adelaide-based GeoResonance said it had used images from satellites and aircraft to survey an area of more than two million square kilometres where the plane with 239 people on board may have crashed.

The company said it had found elements on the ocean floor consistent with material from a plane.

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“We identified chemical elements and materials that make up a Boeing 777 … these are aluminium, titanium, copper, steel alloys and other materials,” company representative Pavel Kursa said.

Images from the same area taken on March 5, three days before the plane disappeared, showed no indication of the aircraft, David Pope, another company representative, said.

“Our team was very excited when we found what we believe to be the wreckage of a commercial airliner,” he said.

“We’re not trying to say that it definitely is MH370, however it is a lead we feel should be followed up.”

But the JACC said in a statement that the location identified by GeoResonance was not in the Australian search zone.

“The Australian led search is relying on information from satellite and other data to determine the missing aircraft’s location,” the statement said.

“The location specified by the GeoResonance report is not within the search arc derived from this data.

“The joint international team is satisfied that the final resting place of the missing aircraft is in the southerly portion of the search arc.”

GeoResonance said it started its search on March 10 and sent an initial report to search authorities when the missing plane’s black box still had two weeks of battery power, Channel 7 reported.

Mr Pope said the technology used by GeoResonance was designed to find nuclear warheads and submarines.

MH370 took off from Kuala Lumpur for Beijing early in the morning of March 8 and disappeared from radar screens about an hour later over the South China Sea.

A multinational search  on its flight route south of Vietnam found nothing, before the search moved to the southern Indian Ocean west of Australia based on plottings of automatic maintenance pings from the plane’s engines.

That search has now entered a new phase, with authorities saying this week that the aerial search for the missing plane had been called off while the underwater hunt would be expanded.

No debris from the plane has been found, and Prime Minister Tony Abbott said it was now highly unlikely any wreckage would be found on the ocean surface.

Authorities remained confident signals detected weeks ago were from a black box recorder, he said.

source: smh.com.au

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