air crashes

Oct 20, 2017

Malaysia will focus renewed MH370 search where Australia refused to look

MH370's best chance of discovery is going to be intensively examined by renewed search

Ben Sandilands — Editor of Plane Talking

Ben Sandilands

Editor of Plane Talking

Somewhere below these waves, where there is no day or night, lies MH370 and its lost souls

Not only has Malaysia suddenly thrown itself into a new search for missing flight MH370, but highlighted a peculiar reluctance by the Australian government to endorse CSIRO and ATSB research that suggests success is close at hand.

As announced in Kuala Lumpur, US firm Ocean Infinity has been chosen to make a ‘no find, no fee’ examination of promising areas of the seabed in the southern Indian Ocean for the sunk wreckage of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER that disappeared with 239 people on board on March 8, 2014 on its way to Beijing.

While there is no guarantee of success, and the finer details of the Ocean Infinity agreement are under continued negotiation, the new search brings hope to the next of kin that answers to the causes of this mysterious tragedy might be found the cockpit sound recorder and flight data recorder, should they be recovered.

It was always implicit in the statements made by the CSIRO and the ATSB which managed the earlier searches for Malaysia and China, that a final review of the clues provided by recovered fragments of MH370 wings, and cabin fittings, would identify promising areas for a final close up examination of the sea floor.

However late last year the Minister for Infrastructure,  Darren Chester, said any resumption of the search required precise identification of the final resting place of the wreckage. When Mr Chester acknowledged Malaysia’s decision to accept the Ocean Infinity offer at a media door stop this morning, and said it was important not to raise false hopes for the next of kin.

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29 thoughts on “Malaysia will focus renewed MH370 search where Australia refused to look

  1. Mick Gilbert

    Our Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Darren Chester’s previous announcement that, “… we will be suspending the search unless credible evidence is available that identifies the specific location of the aircraft.”, in other words, we’ll start looking for it again as soon as someone finds it, was one of the great pieces of dissembling political double-talk.
    It’s very good to see the search will be starting again and good to see that they will most likely concentrate first on the most logical area, around 35°S just beyond the bounds of the previous search.

    1. comet

      Mr Chester: “We’ll only resume the search for MH370 after we know its precise location.”

      Wouldn’t that be a waste of taxpayer’s money to search for something when you already have a precise location?

      Maybe he means he’ll launch the search after Ocean Infinity has found it.

      1. Tango

        What it is, is tacit reco0gniationa of , we got into something that is an endless money pit and we need a way out.

        Pouring good money after already pissed away good money is fine if its not our money.

      2. Mick Gilbert

        That quote from Chester is from December last year when he was prefacing the suspension of the underwater search in January 2017. It was just double-talk to justify the use of the phrase “suspending the search” rather than “terminating the search“. He was basically saying that they were absolutely committed to not looking for it until it was found.

        1. comet

          “He was basically saying that they were absolutely committed to not looking for it until it was found.”

          Right. Gotcha.

          1. Tango

            And when you get into a money pit you take what excuse you can get to get out.

            Australia had no obligation what so ever to do what they did.

            The Political Spin was they did.

            They just unspun it.

  2. Tango

    Considering how often we have nailed down the position, maybe this last one is more of the same?

    Its not and never was Australia’s obligation to find it regardless.

    And until the contract is signed, its not a search its a negotiation.

  3. comet

    What’s in it for Ocean Infinity?

    They’ll get one on the biggest publicity coups in history. And it won’t just be momentary PR or a fleeting headline. They will get to write themselves into the history books for solving one of the greatest mysteries, where others have failed.

    1. michael r james

      I suspect they might be leasing/subcontracting James Cameron’s mini-sub and cameras for a likely future blockbuster movie. Instead of some giant watery set on backlot of Hollywood (actually I recall it was San Diego) it will be the real thing.

    2. gumshoe

      Actually, Comet, I think that what any discovery by Ocean Infinity will achieve will be to facilitate our understanding of how the drama started and of the end of the flight… (subject to the condition of the wreckage, and provided the condition of the recorders permits the revelation of something useful). They wouldn’t even be looking in this new location were it not for the previous sleuthing done by others, such as the satellite experts, and not to forget the previous search, which proved where the wreckage WAS NOT. I think it might be overstating things to say that–should they find it–Ocean Infinity would have ‘solved’ the mystery. Investigatory determinations about the wreckage and assessment of the recorders will not be done by them.

  4. Roger Clifton

    The CVR may only have retained a record of a period after everyone in the cockpit had lost consciousness. However the personal phones and tablets of the passengers may have recorded clues that the investigator would like to get hold of. Depending on how far they have been scattered, of course.

    1. Tango

      There are a lot of maint data sources on the aircraft, engine health amongst other parts.

      How well it all survives down at 12,000 some feet? AF 447 did hold but this is long time.

      Much easier to find those than passenger items spread all over.

      AF447 was a concentrated location, this will have 12,000 feet of scatter for the lighter stuff.

  5. steve davis

    I dont think it will ever be found.

    1. Tango

      I am fully open. Maybe yes, maybe no.

      Right area, but 50 miles off and you will not find it other than a full grid search.

      And while it keeps getting reported as a deal, they are discussing it, but have not sighed a contract at least from what I can glean from the write-ups.

      Now they could say, we will find it and spend 1 billion doing so as they search they the entire SIO . Is Malaysia willing to have an open end?

      Of course the PM could pay for it out of his bank account.

      Or they can say we will search this grid and if its there we get paid, if not, no

      Or they can say, if we search, we get a minimum payment as its not our data saying it is there.

      1. Sue B

        As long as Australia is no longer footing the bill for it, I do not care.

        The plane is lost, I don’t think it will ever be found and continued search is a massive waste of taxpayer dollars when we have homeless and sick people here who are still actually alive to spend it on.

        Oddly enough, I’m no conspiracy nut, but in this case I’ve always believed Malaysia knows where it is, and that it is NOT at the bottom of the ocean. Either way, the pax are dead, and their families need to accept that. And before people have a go at me, plenty of people die without a proper explanation (my father being one – died in his own home, they can’t tell me why, only that his heart just stopped), so you just have to get used to it and move on.

        1. Steve Barrett

          Agreed with all your points but if you ever step into a plane again you and the global community may want to know what happened to 9M-MRO and how it can be prevented. As it stands it could happen again. Also your answer infers 9M-MRO was hijacked and did not crash. Agreed. But why?

      2. Steve Barrett

        Tango no point searching the entire SIO as this will be limited by the fuel reserves at the FMT. This does not include South Africa for instance. Also this means you reject the ISAT data as being genuine so the plane could be anywhere, including not in the SIO.

  6. Mick Gilbert

    I was very saddened to learn that Ben passed away on Friday, 27 October. I think that we all knew of Ben’s increasingly poor health due to cancer, I for one hadn’t realised that his condition was as advanced as it was. He will be missed.
    I’m sure all of his readers join with me in extending sincerest condolences to his family.

    1. chris turnbull

      This was a place of exceptional journalism. An island of reason in a crazy internet ocean. Ben, and this blog, will be sorely missed. Vale.

    2. Dan Dair

      I’m completely devastated by that news.
      We had been exchanging e-mails from time to time & I knew he had been seriously ill.
      I also knew of his chemo & of his high-hopes of its success and of some of the other health problems he was experiencing.
      He recently told me that his condition had been diagnosed as terminal, but gave me little idea that the end was so close.

      My condolences to all of his family
      & to all the ‘family’ here on these pages.
      (& I’m sorry to say, I wrote the various rants on the previous page, before I read Mick Gilbert’s posting here)

    3. Derek

      This is sad news. Ben had hinted from time to time on these pages that he was ill with cancer and it was my hope that the he would be around long enough to report on what happened to MH370.
      My condolences to his family.

  7. paddy

    Deeply saddened to hear of Ben’s passing. Vale.
    Condolences to his family and friends.

  8. comet

    Ben was the greatest aviation writer Australia ever had.

  9. wordfactory

    Devastating. Unlike most journos, Ben never smoked and drank little. Despite his chemo etc, I was convinced he would live to a ripe old age. RIP, cobber.

  10. Rais

    Very sad news. Ben will be missed.

  11. comet

    Ben lived through the golden age of aviation, as well as the golden age of journalism. A time when jets roared like thunder, and people paid to read the newspaper, and newspapers could afford to pay specialised journalists.

    He once described some of the thrills he had in life: As a young lad hurtling down the Essendon runway in a Comet IV. And the time he plunged himself into the ocean at Ball’s Pyramid, and swam all the way to Lord Howe Island to get the newspaper scoop for the Sydney Morning Herald.

    I had intended to email him this coming week. Now it’s too late. I’m feeling very sad.

  12. Brown David

    Very sad news. Vale Ben and sympathies to your family.
    A fitting last post from Ben.
    We have lost a great contributor to aviation.
    I am interested in working on a program to keep Planetalking going as a tribute to Ben and to retain a balanced narrative on goings on in aviation. Anyone interested in helping?

  13. Raven Usher

    Very sad to hear…I had no idea that Ben had serious health problems. This blog will be missed.
    Condolences to Ben’s family.

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