Written by Staff Writer
05 May, 2014 | 9:19 am
The official leading the hunt for the missing Malaysian plane, MH370 says a full search of the suspected crash area could take up to a year.
Speaking in Malaysia, Angus Houston said he was confident an “effective search” would find the plane.
Officials from Australia, China and Malaysia will meet in Canberra next week to discuss the ongoing search.
On Thursday a report revealed a four-hour gap between MH370’s disappearance and the start of a search operation.
The preliminary report, from Malaysia’s transport ministry, also revealed that air traffic controllers did not realise the plane was missing until 17 minutes after it disappeared off radar.
The plane, carrying 239 people, disappeared over the South China Sea as it flew from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
Officials believe it ended its journey in seas west of the Australian city of Perth, thousands of kilometres off course, but do not yet know why. An intensive multinational search has so far turned up no sign of the plane.
Earlier this week, Australia announced that the operation was entering a new phase, after an initial search of the area where acoustic signals thought to be from “black box” flight recorders were heard found nothing.
Next week’s meeting in Australia will help determine what happens next.
“That’s a very important meeting because it will formalise the way ahead to ensure that this search continues with urgency and doesn’t stop at any stage,” said Mr Houston, a retired Air Chief Marshal.
The aerial search for floating wreckage has been called off. The search of the sea floor will be expanded in the area where officials believe – based on satellite data – that the plane crashed.
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