The international team hunting Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in the remote southern Indian Ocean failed to turn up anything yesterday, and Australia’s deputy prime minister said the suspected debris may have sunk.
Aircraft and ships have also renewed a search in the Andaman Sea between India and Thailand, going over areas that have already been exhaustively swept to find some clue to unlock one of the biggest mysteries in modern aviation.
The Boeing 777 went missing almost two weeks ago off the Malaysian coast with 239 people aboard. There has been no confirmed sign of wreckage but two objects seen floating deep south in the Indian Ocean were considered a credible lead and set off a huge hunt on Thursday.
No certainty objects from missing MH370
Australian authorities said the first aircraft to sweep treacherous seas yesterday about 2,500 kilometres southwest of Perth was on its way back to base without spotting the objects picked out by satellite images five days ago.
“Something that was floating on the sea that long ago may no longer be floating,” Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss told reporters in Perth. “It may have slipped to the bottom.”
But the search was continuing and Australian, New Zealand and US aircraft would be joined by Chinese and Japanese planes over the weekend.
“It’s about the most inaccessible spot that you can imagine on the face of the Earth, but if there is anything down there, we will find it,” Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott told reporters in Papua New Guinea, where he is on a visit.
“Now it could just be a container that’s fallen off a ship. We just don’t know, but we owe it to the families and the friends and the loved ones to do everything we can to try to resolve what is as yet an extraordinary riddle.”
India said it was sending two aircraft, a Poseidon P-8I maritime surveillance aircraft and a C-130 Hercules transporter, to join the hunt in the southern Indian Ocean. It is also sending another P-8I and four warships to search in the Andaman Sea, where the plane was last seen on military radar on March 8.
In New Delhi, officials said the search in areas around the Andaman island chain was not at the request of Malaysian authorities coordinating the global search for the airliner.
Investigators suspect Flight MH370, which took off from Kuala Lumpur for Beijing shortly after midnight on March 8, was deliberately diverted thousands of miles from its scheduled path. They say they are focusing on hijacking or sabotage but have not ruled out technical problems.
The search for the plane also continues in other regions, including Laos and Kazakhstan.
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