Search area for Malaysian Airline jet MH370 due to be completed

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The sonar search of the Indian Ocean seabed for Malaysian Airline jet MH370 is now expected to be completed by around January-February 2017. However, an emerging squabble over the search strategy might delay a report on its findings.

Some debris has been found, but not the main wreckage or flight data recorders that would clear up the mystery of what happened to the Boeing 777. An Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) report by international experts who are reviewing the strategy to find the plane may not be produced until after the search is complete. The revelation, reported by The Australian newspaper in November, has prompted claims the ATSB is looking to provide itself with public relations cover for its decision to base the search on its death dive theory of a pilot-less rapid descent at the end of the flight. Other theories have seen the plane on a glide path into the ocean, with the pilot in control. The commercial jet was flying from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing when it veered off-course and disappeared on Mar 8, 2014. The search for the wreckage is widely described as one of the largest and most expensive investigations in aviation history. Investigators calculated that the most likely crash site is within the southern Indian Ocean, but theories differ widely on the most likely area. Poor weather conditions over the Southern hemisphere winter hampered the search of the 120,000 square kilometre search area, which is now not expected to be completed until January-February 2017.

MH370 search team raises prospect plane could lie elsewhere (Reuters 21 Jul 2016)

Flight MH370: Could it have been suicide? (BBC April 16, 2015)

MH370 search to stop after current area scoured (USA Today July 22, 2016)

120,000 sq km search area complete by December 2016

MH370 report will be ‘held back to cover up dive theory’ (The Australian 11 Nov 2016)

Operational Update Nov 9, 2016

Date written/update: 2016-11-11