Search for missing MH370 to enter new phase: JACC

PERTH, Australia, April 30 (Xinhua) — The search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 is commencing a new phase and will transit to an intensified undersea search over the coming weeks, the Joint Agency Coordination Center (JACC) said Wednesday.

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The submarine drone Bluefin-21, which has completed a total of 16 search missions scouring the 314-square-kilometer area around the detections made by the Towed Pinger Locator, will continue to search adjacent areas, according to the JACC.

“Mission 17 will commence when weather conditions improve allowing Bluefin-21 to be safely launched from Australian Defence Vessel Ocean Shield,” the Perth-based search coordination center said.

The statement said Ocean Shield would remain on station supporting Bluefin-21 search activity and a Royal Australian Air Force AP-3C Orion also remains on standby in Perth.

It said other vessels and aircraft that have been engaged in the surface and aerial search will transit to their respective national tasking in the coming days.

As to a report which says an Australian exploration company GeoResonance has found something in the Bay of Bengal that may related to the missing plane, the JACC responded that the Australian-led search is relying on information from satellite and other data to determine the missing aircraft’s location. The location specified by the GeoResonance report is not within the search arc derived from this data.

The joint international team still believes that the final resting place of the missing aircraft is in the southerly portion of the search arc, according to the JACC.