MH370 searchers to move to new hotspot area




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SYDNEY –  The search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 will move to a new hot spot area in the Indian Ocean, the Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) revealed on Wednesday.

Reports said the search team was responding to a series of electronic “ handshakes’’ between the missing plane and a satellite operated by UK Company, Inmarsa.

The satellite data proposed that the aircraft turned south across the Indian Ocean after flying near the Indonesian Island of Sumatra.

JACC search chief, Angus Houston, said that the search information remained the best lead that investigators had in trying to find the plane.

“We are going to have to go deep and do a comprehensive look at the ocean floor.

“The handshakes are the most robust information we have at the moment,’’ he said.

JACC said in a statement that the Australian-contracted survey vessel Fugro Equator had commenced operations in a defined search area, joining Chinese PLA-Navy ship Zhu Kezhen in undertaking survey activities.

“Under the direction of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), the two vessels are conducting the bathymetric survey or mapping of the sea floor crucial to carrying out the deep water search for MH370 that is scheduled to commence in August.”

However, the Zhu Kezhen has surveyed 4,088 square kilometres of the ocean floor.

Report said JACC had anticipated that it would take at least three months to complete the bathymetric survey of the 60,000 square kilometre search zone.

The ships would regularly send survey data to the ATSB and Geoscience Australia.

This data would be used to progressively build a map of the search area.

JACC said that the search area would be confirmed before the end of June after completion of extensive collaborative analysis by a range of specialists. (NAN)