Australia: missing MH370 definitely not in search area
May 29, 2014 - 12:00 am GMT+3
May 29, 2014 12:00 am
KUALA LUMPUR — Australian officials have ruled out the area in the southern Indian Ocean where acoustic signals were detected as the "final resting place" of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
The Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) leading the search for the plane said in a statement Thursday, "The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has advised that the search in the vicinity of the acoustic detections can now be considered complete."
It added that "in its professional judgment, the area can now be discounted as the final resting place of MH370."
The JACC said Thursday that the data collected by the Bluefin-21 autonomous underwater vehicle on the acoustic signals detected by Australian vessels in early May had been analyzed, but no signs of aircraft debris had been found.
The Bluefin-21 has scoured over 850 square kilometers of the ocean floor since joining the search.
The search for MH370 now involves reviewing all existing information, conducting a bathymetric survey to map the sea floor and acquiring the specialist services required for a comprehensive search.
JACC added the expert satellite-working group continues to review and refine complex analyses of radar and satellite data, as well as aircraft performance data, to determine where the aircraft most likely entered the water.
It said the ATSB will soon release a formal request for tender so that "a single prime contractor will be chosen to bring together and manage the expertise, equipment and vessels to carry out the search."
It has been 11 weeks since flight MH370 went missing after losing radio contact with Malaysian and Vietnamese air traffic control after leaving Kuala Lumpur International Airport on March 8.
Despite the most intensive search in commercial aviation history, Malaysia's search efforts have been heavily criticized by media and the family of passengers.
The Beijing-bound flight carried 239 passengers, including 12-flight crew, from 14 different countries.