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Operational Update

At the request of the Malaysian Government, Australia has accepted responsibility for the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) is leading the underwater search for MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean.

Joint Agency Coordination Centre 
MH370 Operational Search Update

28 September 2016

This operational report has been developed to provide regular updates on the progress of the search effort for MH370. Our work will continue to be thorough and methodical, so sometimes weekly progress may seem slow. Please be assured that work is continuing and is aimed at finding MH370 as quickly as possible.

Key developments this week

  • Fugro Equator is in the search area and conducting search operations.
  • Dong Hai Jiu 101 is at anchor off Fremantle awaiting the onset of better weather in the search area when it will recommence search operations.

Underwater search operations

More than 110,000 square kilometres of the seafloor have been searched so far.

At a meeting of Ministers from Malaysia, Australia and the People’s Republic of China held on 22 July 2016, it was agreed that should the aircraft not be located in the current search area, and in the absence of credible new evidence leading to the identification of a specific location of the aircraft, the search would be suspended upon completion of the 120,000 square kilometre search area.

It is expected that searching the entire 120,000 square kilometre search area will be completed by around December 2016.

Ministers went to great lengths to explain that this does not mean the termination of the search. Should credible new information emerge that can be used to identify the specific location of the aircraft, consideration will be given to determining next steps.

2015_Indicative Search Area _Australia Overview _A4
Click image to enlarge

Examination of suspected MH370 debris

On 22 September 2016 the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) issued a report following examination of two items of fibreglass-honeycomb composite debris provided by Mr Blaine Gibson.

Due to the absence of manufacturing identifiers such as part numbers or serial numbers it was not immediately apparent whether or not the debris was from a Boeing 777 aircraft.

Further work will be undertaken in an attempt to determine whether the items originated from a Boeing 777 aircraft

The full report, Debris examination – update No. 4: Preliminary examination of two items of debris recovered near Sainte Luce, Madagascar (22 September 2016), is available on the ATSB website.


Strong to gale force winds are expected in the search area over the coming days which may impact search operations.



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MH370 Operational Search Updates

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Last update 28 September 2016