KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 23 – Aircraft debris may have washed up on Indonesian shores but authorities have yet to confirm if they belonged to the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. According to a report by Xinhua news agency, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) on Wednesday said that floating debris from the aircraft may have drifted west away from Australia’s western coastline and towards Indonesia.
“The ATSB continues to receive messages from members of the public who have found material washed up on the Australian coastline and think it may be wreckage or debris from MH370. “The ATSB reviews all of this correspondence carefully, but drift modelling undertaken by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority has suggested that if there were any floating debris, it is far more likely to have travelled west, away from the coastline of Australia.”
ATSB, which is heading the search for the missing plane off the coast of Western Australia, has alerted the Indonesian authorities. “It is possible that some materials may have drifted to the coastline of Indonesia, and an alert has been issued in that country requesting that the authorities be alerted to any possible debris from the aircraft,” an operation search statement by ATSB said.
On March 8, flight MH370, carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew members left the KL International Airport at 12.41am and disappeared from radar about an hour later while over the South China Sea. It is believed that the aircraft went down at the southern Indian Ocean. Underwater search is being conducted at the west of Australian waters – an area that analysts have identified as the 7th arc.
According to ATSB, at the time MH370 reached this arc, the aircraft is considered to have exhausted its fuel and to have been descending. A new phase of the underwater search began this month and has approximately covered 1,200 sq km of the ocean floor. The Malaysian-contracted vessel GO Phoenix will continue the search MH370after it headed for Fremantle Port in Perth for refuelling and supply on Tuesday.
The Go Phoenix is equipped with sophisticated underwater detector vehicles called ‘ProSAS’ that has the ability to search up to a depth of 6,000 metres and cover up to 194 sq km a day. The vessel will join the search operations by Fugro Discovery and Fugro Equator, jointly contracted by Malaysia and Australia.