The Australian coordinated multinational effort to find missing flight MH370 has of this morning passed the halfway mark for its original targeted sea floor search.
In a statement which clears up the various estimates being circulated as to the area of immediate interest the Joint Agency Coordination Centre says:
Early this morning, Bluefin-21 AUV completed mission seven in the underwater search area. Bluefin-21 has searched approximately 50 per cent of the focused underwater search area to date.
The focused underwater search area is defined as a circle of 10km radius around the second Towed Pinger Locator detection which occurred on 8 April
No contacts of interest have been found to date.
Bluefin-21 AUV’s eighth mission has commenced.
When this phase of the search began the guidance was that if the best estimated area for the first search found nothing the intention was to move outwards from the zone with side scan sonar mapping, using searchlights and cameras to confirm any positive leads that the sonar might provide.
There are however indications in government briefings in Kuala Lumpur in recent days that the search may be augmented with additional commercial equipment suitable for very deep sea mapping and identification purposes.
At the current rate of progress the likelihood of the first seabed search phase being completed by mid week has firmed.
The search for ocean surface debris also continues.
Up to 11 military aircraft and 12 ships will assist in today’s search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
Today the Australian Maritime Safety Authority has planned a visual search area totaling approximately 48,507 square kilometres, across two areas.