The Malaysian search investigation team says it has suspended work on the final report into the crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 pending the outcome of the current search.
A fourth interim report issued by the by the Malaysian investigation team said any new evidence would likely significantly affect the investigation.
“In the event that the aircraft is found, the team will conduct further investigation,’’ it said. “If the aircraft is not found and a decision is made to discontinue the search, the team will resume the completion of the report and release it in the months ahead.”
The investigation team formed under Annex 13 of the UN-backed International Civil Aviation Organisation’s rules includes 19 Malaysians and seven representatives from safety investigators from other countries.
These include the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, the US National Transportation Safety Board, Civil Aviation Administration of the People’s Republic of China, the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) of United Kingdom and France’s Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses pour la sécurité d l’aviation Civile (BEA).
March 8 is the fourth anniversary of the disappearance of the Beijing-bound flight with 239 passengers and crew on board.
It comes as search firm Ocean Infinity continues to sweep the ocean floor in the Southern Indian Ocean using a fleet of autonomous underwater vehicles as it continues its search on a “no cure, no fee” basis.
The vessel contracted by Ocean Infinity, the Seabed Constructor, is currently searching in an area near the Broken Ridge plateau.
It is understood new modeling that relaxes some of the constraints on the missing aircraft’s flightpath suggests this might be a likely site for the debris.
Two Malaysian naval officers aboard the Seabed Constructor also broke their silence to say the ship’s crew remained optimistic the wreckage would be found.
Lieutenant Commander Azmi Rosedee, 32, and Lieutenant Abdul Halim Ahmad Nordin, 31, said in a written response to the New Straits Times: “It’s been more than 30 days now, but the search team remains optimistic.
“We are giving our utmost to find the plane… We have gone through a number of rough days… days which we would not have been able to survive without having perseverance and a strong will.”
The officers said operations continued even in rough seas but this made it difficult to deploy and retrieve the autonomous under vehicles.
“Aside from that, the seabed (morphology) of the search areas is hilly and uneven. This also disrupts the AUV’s capability to thoroughly sweep the areas,” they said.
Earlier, Malaysia Transport Minister Liow Tong Lai said Malaysia remained committed to finding the missing aircraft.
“Our commitment to the families and to the citizens of Malaysia remains steadfast as we continue to complete the search mission by Ocean Infinity to find the answers that we all seek,’’ he said. “Our thoughts and prayers will always be with the families and loved ones of those on board flight MH370.”