Facebook Google Menu Linkedin lock Pinterest Search Twitter

Advertisement

air crashes

Feb 10, 2016

MH370 search recovers sunk towfish from side of volcano

The MH370 seafloor search SW of Western Australia has retrieved the sonar scanning towfish from its resting place on the side of an underwater volcano that it inadvertently struck e

Share

Found on the side of a seamount, the missing towfish
Found on the side of a seamount, the missing towfish

The MH370 seafloor search SW of Western Australia has retrieved the sonar scanning towfish from its resting place on the side of an underwater volcano that it inadvertently struck earlier this year.

The ATSB which is managing the search on behalf of search partners Malaysia and China said the mishap hadn’t adversely affected the efforts to locate and ultimately raise if possible the data recorders or other sunk wreckage from the Malaysia Airlines 777 that vanished with 239 people on board on 8 March 2014.

Recovery of deep tow sonar vehicle

The Fugro vessel, Havila Harmony, successfully recovered the deep tow sonar vehicle (towfish) which was separated from Fugro Discovery on 24 January when it collided with an underwater seamount while conducting search operations.

On the evening of 3 February, the crew of the Havila Harmony deployedan FCV3000 remotely operated vehicle (ROV) via its umbilical cord to the seafloor. When the ROV reached the seafloor at a depth of around 2,550 m, the towfish was quickly located and the ROV pilots used a cutting tool fitted to the ROV to sever the soft tow connecting the depressor weight to the towfish. A manipulator on the ROV was used to raise the neutrally-buoyant towfish to 2,000 metres. It was then attached to a hook that had been lowered from the crane on board Havila Harmony, and raised to the surface for retrieval.

The notoriously bad weather that affects the southern Indian Ocean has also abated to an extent, although for how long is hard to predict.

Less than 35,000 square kilometres of the expanded 120,000 square kilometre priority search zone remains to be fully surveyed and scanned, together with a revisiting of areas where the sea floor was too deep or complex to be adequately checked by the equipment first deployed by the search in 2014.

The deeper, sharper look will be assisted by a more capable synthetic aperture sonar scanning towfish that will be deployed by a PRC vessel later this month.

Technical papers, archives, images, videos and the full operational update can be read here, together with restrained critiques of some inaccurate and misleading and poorly researched nonsense peddled in The Australian.

Where the search action is in relation to Western Australia
Where the search action is in relation to Western Australia
Ben Sandilands — Editor of Plane Talking

Ben Sandilands

Editor of Plane Talking

Ben Sandilands has reported and analysed the mechanical mobility of humanity since late 1960 - the end of the age of great scheduled ocean liners and coastal steamers and the start of the jet age. He’s worked in newspapers, radio and TV in a wide range of roles as a journalist at home and abroad for 56 years, the last 18 freelance.

Get a free trial to post comments
More from Ben Sandilands

Advertisement

We recommend

From around the web

Powered by Taboola

2 comments

Leave a comment

2 thoughts on “MH370 search recovers sunk towfish from side of volcano

  1. Glen

    How did they find it so easily? Nav data, or perhaps a serious pinger (…unlike certain others).

  2. dave worth

    New Apple app- find your I-sonar scanning towfish! 🙂

Leave a comment