Australia has maintained that Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 will be found in the southern Indian Ocean despite a wide-reaching search turning up no signs of the missing airplane three months after it disappeared.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau said satellite data on the plane’s flight path “confirms that MH370 will be found in close proximity” to the “7th arc,” adding: “the aircraft is considered to have exhausted its fuel and to have been descending,” reported CBS this week.
It’s unclear where the 7thc arc is in location to the area that has already been searched. A Bluefin 21 submarine conducted a search in the Indian Ocean last month.
Australian officials said they would attempt a larger search with more advanced sonar equipment in August.
On Sunday, it was reported that families of the 239 people on board the airplane launched a fund in a new effort to locate the plane.
MSN News said they launched a campaign to raise $5 million via crowdsourcing to get whistleblowers to give up the location of the plane.
“This mystery is unprecedented in aviation history, and we need to work as a collective community with one goal of finding the truth, the plane and the passengers,” Ethan Hunt, the project leader, wrote in a statement. “The reward will be paid to the person or firm who provides the information which leads to the recovery of MH370 and all aboard,” the statement said.
A team of Australian researchers looking into the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 released data on Wednesday about an unusual underwater sound recorded around the time the plane vanished, though the lead scientist acknowledged the chances it is linked to the jet are slim.
The low-frequency sound was picked up by underwater listening devices in the Indian Ocean off the west coast of Australia on March 8, the same day the Boeing 777 disappeared on a flight from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing with 239 people on board. Researchers at Curtin University in Western Australia have been analyzing the signal to see if it may be the sound of the plane crashing into the ocean.
But Alec Duncan, who’s heading up the research, said the sound appears to have originated well outside the jet’s projected flight path that officials determined based on satellite and radar data, and is therefore unlikely to have come from the plane.
“It’s one of these situations where you find yourself willing it all to fit together but it really doesn’t,” said Duncan, senior research fellow with Curtin’s Center for Marine Science and Technology. “I’d love to be able to sit here and say, ‘Yeah, we’ve found this thing and it’s from the plane’ — but the reality is, there’s a lot of things that make noise in the ocean.”
The noise could have come from a natural event, such as a small earthquake, Duncan said. He put the chances of it being linked to Flight 370 at less than 20 percent.
Despite a massive air and sea search, no trace of Flight 370 has been found, three months after it vanished. The search is on hold for two months while new, specialized equipment can be brought in to scour a 700 kilometer by 80 kilometer (430 mile by 50 mile) swath of ocean where officials believe the plane crashed.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.