There is a “decreasing possibility” that the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 may result in the plane being found, according to the Australian agency heading the operation.
As of May 11, around 105,000 square kilometers of the area in southern Indian Ocean had been searched – which leaves 15,000 square kilometers of area still to be searched.
Head of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau Martin Dolan said, with the area of the seafloor that remains to be searched, there are “good prospects” that the plane could be discovered. However, as reported by the Daily Mail, he said that at present, “we are at the point of the search where we have to contemplate the possibility we won’t find it.”
“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,” he said. “We have to contemplate now the possibility that we will not find the aircraft.”
He also noted that the families of the victims may be disappointed.
“They’ve put their hearts and souls into something that we thought – and still think – has a high prospect of success,” he said. “We’re just now contemplating the alternative.”
He emphasized that the search could only be continued if significant evidence is discovered – which means that the pieces of aircraft found until now may not be enough to continue the search.
The ATSB last week confirmed that two fragments, found on the beaches of South Africa (piece of cowling that had a Rolls Royce stencil) and Mauritius, were from the missing plane. These parts are “almost certainly” from the MH370. Till date, as many as five pieces of debris believed to be from the missing plane have been discovered in the Indian Ocean.
The plane, carrying 239 passengers on board from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, went missing on March 8, 2014.
As reported by the Guardian, the search operation cost $133.3 million, which was paid by Australia and Malaysia. China funded an additional $14.8 million. Irrespective of whether the search results in the discovery of the plane or not, Dolan said, “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.”