More than six months after Malaysia Air Flight 370 vanished without explanation over the Indian Ocean, crews are ready to renew the effort to locate the crash site and what remains of the downed plane.
Although the media obsessed over the strange disappearance, actual reports on evidence regarding the plane’s whereabouts were few and far between. Since then, however, crews have been preparing for a new search that will use sonar, video, and fuel sensor technology to explore the remote stretch of the Indian Ocean where authorities suspect the plane went down.
The search has been on hold for four months so crews could map the seabed in the search zone, about 1,800 kilometers (1,100 miles) west of Australia. The 60,000-square kilometer (23,000-square mile) search site lies along what is known as the “seventh arc” — a stretch of ocean where investigators believe the aircraft ran out of fuel and crashed. Officials analyzed transmissions between the plane and a satellite to estimate where it entered the water.
Two other ships being provided by Dutch contractor Fugro are expected to join the Malaysian-contracted GO Phoenix later this month.
The ships will be dragging sonar devices called towfish through the water about 100 meters (330 feet) above the seabed to hunt for the wreckage. The towfish are also equipped with sensors that can detect the presence of jet fuel, and are expected to be able to cope with the dizzying depths of the search zone, which is 6.5 kilometers (4 miles) deep in places.
Coverage of the original search for the downed craft was dominated by ridiculous conspiracy theories and breathless conjecture; this search, however, appears to have gotten off on the right foot. Australian Transport Safety Bureau Chief Commissioner Martin Dolan has expressed cautious optimism about the plan, saying that “[w]e’re confident in the analysis and we’re confident that the aircraft is close to the seventh arc,” referring to a particular stretch of the search zone.
Whatever happens, it will be interesting to see how CNN handles its coverage of the search.DONATE
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