Deep-Water Search for MH370 Starting Next Month

Australia's Joint Agency Coordination Centre announced the search will begin in September after ships mapping the sea floor in the new search area complete their survey work.

A deep-water search of a large area of the southern Indian Ocean will begin in September as the hunt for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 continues, Australia's Joint Agency Coordination Centre announced July 31. The aircraft disappeared from radar March 8 while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing and has not been located; 239 people were aboard. Ships and aircraft from several countries have been searching for it.

According to a JACC news release, the deep-water search will begin after two ships complete their surveys of the sea floor in the new, more southern search area. The Zhu Kezhen, a Chinese naval vessel, has been conducting survey operations since May 24 and has more than 25,000 square kilometers as of July 30, while the Fugro Equator, an Australian-contracted specialized survey vessel, as of July 30 has sounded more than 43,000 square kilometers. Analysis and mapping of these data are continuing, according to the release.

The government of Malaysia's hydrographic survey vessel, the KD MUTIARA, will join the survey work this month. "It is expected that the bathymetric survey work will be completed by September. The deep-water search is expected to commence in September following the appointment of a prime contractor through a request for tender process," the release states. It says JACC will provide updates on the survey at its website.

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