Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss today announced a new high priority underwater search area for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.
The new search area of up to 60,000 square kilometres is located in the Southern Indian Ocean and, like previous searches, is located along the seventh arc – a thin but long line that marks where the missing aircraft last communicated with a satellite.
The new phase of the search has two elements:
- a bathymetric survey of the sea floor in that area
- a comprehensive search of the sea floor once it has been mapped.
The bathymetric survey—or mapping of the ocean floor— has already commenced, with the Chinese survey ship Zhu Kezhen and the Australian-contracted vessel Fugro Equator conducting operations in the areas provided by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.
A public request for tender has been issued, seeking a primary contractor to bring together and manage the expertise, equipment and vessels to carry out the comprehensive search.
The Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) has released a media release on the high priority search zone.
A new ATSB report, MH370 - Definition of Underwater Search Areas, explains how the new priority search area was determined.