Flight MH370

Malaysia Airlines flight 370

Malaysia to send more equipment for flight MH370 search in Indian Ocean

PUBLISHED : Monday, 07 July, 2014, 4:24am
UPDATED : Monday, 07 July, 2014, 4:27am

Malaysia will send more equipment to the southern Indian Ocean to join the search for flight MH370 which went missing four months ago.

Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said yesterday that a Malaysian navy ship equipped with a multi-beam echo sounder - a device to map the ocean floor - would set sail on August 4 for the deep-sea search zone far off western Australia.

State energy firm Petronas, together with Deftech and Phoenix International, would deploy a towed device called a synthetic aperture sonar to scan the ocean floor, he said.

Shipbuilder Boustead Heavy Industries, together with iXBlue Australia, would send a deep towed side scan sonar with a remotely operated vehicle.

Instructions for immediate mobilisation [of the equipment] have been given
Hishammuddin Hussein

"Instructions for immediate mobilisation have been given and the assets are expected to reach the search area in mid- August," Hishammuddin said.

Another Malaysian vessel which was deployed in April would stay in the search area,.

The Malaysia Airlines flight lost contact on March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people aboard. It is believed to have veered off course and - based on satellite data analysis - crashed in the southern Indian Ocean, but an extensive Australian-led search has so far found no sign of wreckage.

Australian officials announced last month that the search would shift further south based on a review of the satellite data. They also said the Boeing 777 was almost certainly on autopilot when it ran out of fuel and crashed.

The most likely scenario, the officials said, was that the pilots and crew suffered from hypoxia, or lack of oxygen, and became "unresponsive", which can occur when a plane loses air pressure at high altitude.

The underwater search will start in the new area, covering up to 60,000 square kilometres in the southern Indian Ocean, next month and take up to a year.