Correcting the Record
Misleading media reporting on the First Principles Review into the search for MH370
3 November 2016
It has been reported by the ABC and news.com.au that the purpose of the First Principles Review meeting in Canberra on 2-4 November 2016 is for the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) to seek additional funding from the Australian Government to extend the search for MH370.
This is not correct.
The First Principles review meeting consists of experts from the Search Strategy Working Group including Australian Defence Scientists, Boeing, Thales, Inmarsat, the National Transportation Safety Board of the US and the Air Accident Investigation Branch of the UK along with experts from CSIRO, Geoscience Australia and Curtin University, and with representatives for Malaysia (including officers of the Malaysian Department of Civil Aviation) and the People’s Republic of China. They are reviewing all the available data and associated analysis, assumptions and modelling undertaken to inform the definition of the search area. The review will inform the remainder of the current search effort, and if needed, develop guidance for any future search operations.
Ministers from Malaysia, Australia and the People's Republic of China, agreed at the Tripartite meeting in July 2016 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 not end, but be suspended upon completion of the 120,000 square kilometre search area.
It has also been suggested by the ABC that “Australia is understood to be using the meeting to put together the best scientific thinking, along with a sound and reasonable business plan that will make it impossible for Malaysia and China to back away from.” This is not correct. This is not the purpose of the meeting and the agenda is not to expand the search area.
Representatives from both the Government of Malaysia and the People’s Republic of China are present at the three-day meeting, and Australia continues to work closely with Malaysia and the People’s Republic of China on the search for MH370. In accordance with the Tripartite arrangement, Ministers from Malaysia, Australia and the People's Republic of China continue to take decisions together regarding the search.
For the First Principles Review, the ATSB has assembled experts from around the world to reassess the data available. A report detailing the findings of the First Principle Review will be made available following the meeting.