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MH370: Australia Has An 'International Responsibility' To Resume Search

An aviation expert finds it "perplexing" authorities aren't reacting to new evidence.

17/08/2017 7:02 PM AEST | Updated 17/08/2017 7:04 PM AEST
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"They absolutely need to find this aeroplane to give closure to the relatives."

An aviation expert has said countries including Australia, Malaysia and China have "an international responsibility" to resume the search for missing flight MH370 in light of groundbreaking evidence that may have pinpointed the geographic crash site of the aircraft wreckage on Wednesday.

Speaking to 'The Project' on Thursday night, Geoffrey Thomas said the new findings limit the possible crash site down to an area of around 5000 square kilometres in the Indian Ocean and that he finds it "very perplexing" that global powers "are not very excited about this".

"I know we've had some highs and lows in this search for this aeroplane, but the CSIRO believes they have absolutely nailed where this plane is, just outside where we've been searching for the last 2.5 years," he said.

"I just do not know why they are not very excited about this, because it's Australian know-how that has brought us to this position, and global experts are saying this is the most exciting bit of evidence we've had in three years.

"It's perplexing, and they've got an international responsibility to find this aeroplane. They absolutely need to find this aeroplane to give closure to the relatives. They just need to do it."

Thomas' comments also come after Mayalsian authorities have been urged by the families and friends of MH370 victims to consider an offer from US exploration company Ocean Infinity to use underwater drones to sweep the suspected area on a "no find, no fine" agreement.

Despite the private firm only to be paid by the Malaysian government if the wreckage was found in the efforts, no decision has come from authorities as whether the offer has been accepted.

In a new satellite imagery analysis report from Australian government research body Geoscience Australia and a refined ocean surface drift study from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) on Wednesday, what are believed to be "probably man-made" items have been located across four areas of the Indian Ocean -- all north of the original search area -- and also linked to separate pieces of debris that previously washed up on African beaches.

In four images taken by French military satellite Airbus PLEIADES in 2014, 70 "identifiable objects" ranging in classification from "probably natural" to "probably man-made" were spotted. Thirty-six of those objects were found located within the area surveyed in satellite image PHR_4 and 12 objects overall were deemed to have been built by humans. Nine of those objects were found within the PHR_4 image area alone.

"Assuming that some of the objects identified in the Pleiades images are indeed debris items from 9M-MRO, we have shown that there is an impact location that is consistent with those sightings," researchers said in the report.

"This location is 35.6°S, 92.8°E."

The exhaustive search for the MH370 wreckage was officially called off in January by authorities from Malaysia, Australia and China -- nearly three years after the flight went missing and after Australia had contributed $60 million to a $200-million-dollar underwater search effort, which was the largest in aviation history.

MH370 vanished on March 8, 2014, with 239 people on board, sparking a massive, multi-million dollar and multi-nation search for the plane over a 120,000 sq km stretch of the Indian Ocean.

Six Australians were on board.

In July 2016, authorities warned the search would be suspended if no new results were found, which a statement in January confirmed. To date no new information has been discovered to determine the specific location of the aircraft.

Traces of the plane have been found washed up on the island country Mauritius, the French island Reunion and an island off the coast of Tanzania.

Timeline of missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370

March 8, 2014: MH370 flight departs from Kuala Lumpur, en route to Beijing, and loses contact with air traffic control

March 8,2014: A full-scale international search and rescue operation begins. Authorities target waters between Vietnam and Malaysia.

March 13, 2014: Search fails to find trace of MH370 where Chinese satellites spotted three "floating objects" in the ocean.

March 16, 2014: Malaysia calls for help from 25 countries, as search expands across 11 countries.

March 18, 2014: Australia leads new search for wreckage 3,000 kilometres south-west of Perth.

April 4, 2014: Malaysian authorities release transcript of pilot communication with the final words "all right, good night".

April 6, 2014: Black box was thought to be detected off Perth with signals detected, however signals fell silent days later. No trace of the missing plane was found.

April 30, 2014: Aerial search ends and the preliminary report is released the following day.

June 10, 2014: Search coordinator says the search could take more than two years.

October 8, 2014: Search moves south, off the Western Australian coast after Prime Minister Tony Abbott confirmed an underwater search would take place in September. Australia signed a $50 million contract to use two vessels for the search.

January 29, 2015: Malaysia announced all 239 passengers and crew are presumed dead, and MH370 declared an accident.

March 7, 2015: Malaysia's transport minister says new plan will be formulated and data will be re-examined.

July 29, 2015: Debris found on French Indian Ocean island of La Reunion.

May 10, 2016: Fragment of plane wing found is in Mauritius, and later identified as part if MH370. It is one of 33 pieces suspected to be from the missing flight.

July 22, 2016: Officials announce the search for MH370 will be called off if plane is not found by December.

January 17, 2016: Search for MH370 officially called off.

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