The search area for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has been updated after a new credible lead was provided to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA).
As a result today’s search will shift to an area 1,100 kilometres to the north east based on updated advice provided by the international investigation team in Malaysia.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), Australia’s investigation agency, has examined this advice and determined that this is the most credible lead to where debris may be located. The new search area is approximately 319,000 square kilometres and around 1,850 kilometres west of Perth.
The new information is based on continuing analysis of radar data between the South China Sea and the Strait of Malacca before radar contact was lost. It indicated that the aircraft was travelling faster than previously estimated, resulting in increased fuel usage and reducing the possible distance the aircraft travelled south into the Indian Ocean.
ATSB advises the potential flight path may be the subject of further refinement as the international investigative team supporting the search continues their analysis.
The Australian Geospatial – Intelligence Organisation is re – tasking satellites to image the new area.
Weather conditions have improved in the area and ten aircraft are tasked for today’s search. They include two Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) P3 Orions, a Japanese Coast Guard jet, a Japanese P3 Orion, a Republic of Korea P3 Orion, a Republic of Korea C130 Hercules, a Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) P3 Orion, a Chinese military Ilyushin IL – 7 6, a United States Navy P8 Poseidon aircraft, and one civil jet acting as a communications relay.
A further RAAF P3 Orion has been placed on standby at Pearce to investigate any reported sightings. There are now six vessels relocating to the new search area including HMAS Success and five Chinese ships.
Chinese Maritime Safety Administration (MSA) patrol ship, Haixun 01, is in the search area. HMAS Success is expected to arrive in the search area late tomorrow night. A US towed pinger locator and Bluefin – 21 Autonomous Underwater Vehicle have arrived in Perth to assist with location and recovery of the black box. The depth of the water in the search area is between 2000 and 4000 metres.
Press Release, March 28, 2014; Image: