Famous wreck hunter David Mearns supports levy to find MH370

by Geoffrey Thomas and Steve Creedy
March 15, 2019

Famous wreck hunter David Mearns supports a passenger levy to find MH370.

Mearns, who has found many ships including HMS Hood and HMS Sydney, said on Twitter that “over 4 billion people fly each year, [and] adopting Dick Smith’s suggestion would raise $400 million, enough to fund a multi-season search for MH370” and “build a future funding model to protect the flying public.”

“We can take responsibility for our own flight safety,” he said.

He added:  “The previous searches for MH370 have all been professionally conducted” but “the main failure has been managing expectations.”

Mearns said a “multi-season commitment and plan is required to search an expansion of probable areas.”

READ Boeing 737MAX disasters: What we know, what we don’t. 

Last month,Aussie aviator and adventurer Dick Smith called on airlines to place a 10-cent levy on tickets to fund a new search for missing MH370.

Smith, a former chairman of Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority who flew the first solo helicopter flight around the world, said the search must be restarted in the interests of aviation safety.

The fate of MH370 remains one of aviation greatest mysteries after it disappeared with 239 people on board while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014.

He cited three incidents — the metal fatigue problem with de Havilland Comets, the fire on South African Airways Flight 295 and the pitot tube problems on Air France Flight 447 — as examples of why the missing Boeing 777 should be found.

Smith said all three accidents had led to improvements in safety and the thing that really worried him about MH370 was that “we’ve stopped searching for this plane”.

He said there was simply not enough evidence to know what happened to the plane and it was imperative it be found so that any potential safety problems could be ruled in or out.

“Yes, many people believe it was a murder-suicide, and we’re not going to learn a lot if we do recover the plane and that’s so,’’ he said.

“But let’s say there was an airworthiness design problem, not just in that 777 but in all aircraft. It could be so, it could be possible.”

Smith said airlines already gave passengers the option to pay to offset carbon emissions and fly green.

He believed they would also opt to pay 10 cents to guarantee their future safety and this would generate enough money to restart the search and keep it going.

“It’s not possible for governments to (use) taxpayers’ money to keep paying, but surely IATA or ICAO or someone can get together and work out a simple system to raise some money to find that plane.