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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

MH370: The possibility of not finding aircraft is high, says investigator

Despite recent news confirming various plane debris parts as coming from MH370, the leader of the Australian search team heading the search has expressed his view that the chances of finding the missing plane are fading.

Martin Dolan, head of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) had shared his thoughts on this sensitive matter in an interview with The Guardian yesterday.

He said the operation had already scoured 105,000 of the 120,000 sq km search area and that there is no plan to expand the area of the original operation, which was agreed upon by the governments of Malaysia, Australia and China.

Only last month, ATSB said announced that two pieces of wreckage found on the coasts of South Africa and Mauritius were “almost certainly” from MH370, which simply vanished in March 2014 en route to Beijing with 239 people on board.

Dolan had shared how the search team had truly believed in being able to locate the missing plane when they started the search and now have to face the real possibility of never locating the bulk of the plane wreck.

“When we walked into this, the best advice we had from all experts is that it was highly probably but not certain the aircraft would be found in this area. We have to contemplate now the possibility that we will not find the aircraft.

“They’ve put their hearts and souls into something that we thought – and still think – has a high prospect of success. We’re just now contemplating the alternative,” Dolan revealed.

He pointed out that he is fully aware that ending the two year search empty-handed will have a big impact on families of the victims and would leave “a lot of very disappointed people”.

“The task set for us right at the beginning was to search a defined area, either to find the aircraft or to eliminate that area from the search, and we will have accomplished one of those objectives,” he explained about the impending conclusion of the US $133.3 million operation – paid for by Australia and Malaysia, including another US$14.8 million in funding and equipment from China.

However, he stressed that the money spent had not been a waste as had already covered unprecedented area and conditions, contributing to a wide range of techniques, experience and “secondary results” – such as detailed mapping of a large part of the ocean floor – that did not exist previously, he said, The Guardian reports.

Earlier, Dolan had also announced that the search will likely conclude by July this year after the 120,000-sq-km is searched although wintry conditions setting in the Southern Hemisphere were likely to slow progress for that final 15,000 sq km.

- mD

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