Heres How Theyll Piece Together What Happened to Flight MH370
The southern Indian Ocean is a vast, desolate and hostile place churned by relentless currents and vicious storms. It is rarely traversed by air or sea, and anything lost there may never be found. That includes Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
But those scouring a remote swath of ocean west of Australia received tantalizing clues this week, including new radar data about the planes velocity. The data, gleaned from radar between the South China Sea and the Strait of Malacca, suggests MH370 was traveling faster than previously believed, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said. That means it would have run out of fuel sooner. The agency called this new information the most credible lead to where debris may be located.
The new lead prompted a sudden change in focus to an area 685 miles northeast of where everyone had been searching. Theyd spent much of the week scouring an area 1,600 miles west of Perth, Australia, after satellite images taken Sunday by Airbus Defence and Space and Monday by Thailands Geo-Informatics Space Technology Development Agency revealed what might be a debris field.
The shift to yet another area underscores just how perplexing the search has been, and how investigators have been frustrated in their quest for answers. None of the aircraft or ships in the region have found anything of note, and the photos may reveal nothing more than whitecaps or the flotsam so often found at sea.
With little else to go on, investigators have so far relied upon the scant satellite and radar communication the plane had after going dark 90 minutes into its March 8 flight to Beijing with 239 people aboard. Finding a debris field would be akin to a homicide detective locating a body, allowing investigators to begin piecing together, literally and figuratively, what happened.
Until they find debris, said Dr. Vernon Grose, a former investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board, theyre spending all that money on this, and its totally useless.
Meanwhile relatives of the missing passengers are protesting in China and Malaysia, accusing the relative government of withholding information.