The search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 resumed Sunday in an area identified by University of WA researchers as the possible final resting place.
After a quick resupply in Fremantle, the search team crew aboard vessel Seabed Constructor deployed eight autonomous underwater vehicles to search for signs of the aircraft.
The Ocean Infinity team says they are “absolutely determined” to find the Boeing 777, which disappeared on March 8, 2014, with 239 people aboard
So far 80,000sqkm of the ocean floor has been searched.
The latest search is expected to be the last before the winter weather puts a pause on operations.
The Malaysian Government gave Ocean Infinity 90 days to find the plane in a “no cure, no fee” search that would net the company $US70 million if successful.
The sweeps have lasted about six weeks and it is expected that this will be the last before winter weather halts activities about mid-June.
Ocean Infinity chief executive Oliver Plunkett said that its “technology has performed exceptionally well throughout the search and that we have collected significant amounts of high-quality data in which we have full confidence”.
“The results from the highly challenging Broken Ridge (due west of Perth) feature are particularly impressive,” he said.
“Everyone at Ocean Infinity remains absolutely determined for the remainder of the search.”
The 100,000sqkm area that is the focus of the current search is based on assessments of a refinement of the original satellite data, drift modeling from debris that washed up around the western Indian Ocean.
The original Australian Transport Safety Bureau international investigation favored a more southerly location.
UWA professor Charitha Pattiaratchi indicated the priority region that needed targeting went as far north as 28°S along what is called the seventh arc.
This is a line based on satellite returns off the Boeing 777 that runs down the WA coast about 1800km west of Perth and then sweeps away into the Southern Indian Ocean.
This does not include the time spent traveling to and from port to refuel and take on new crew and supplies.