A first update of missing flight MH370 was released by Australian authorities October 15, saying that more than 260 square miles (670 square kilometers) of underwater area had been searched without success.
MH370 is the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane that disappeared on March 8. The aircraft, which was en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, vanished with all 239 people on board. Despite extensive sea and air searches, no sign of the aircraft has ever been found.
The plane was thought to have crashed into the southern Indian Ocean after veering off course, and is the reason authorities continue to search underwater. The final resting place of the plane is based on detailed analysis of the plane’s satellite communications.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) is leading the underwater search with a Malaysian-contracted vessel, GO Phoenix.
ATSB began their underwater search on October 6, following a seabed survey map. So far, about 127,000 square kilometers of the zone has been mapped with sophisticated vehicles that are attached to the ship by tow cables. These vehicles are programmed to detect large pieces of aircraft, such as fuselage and engine.
An ATSB spokesperson says, “GO Phoenix continues to conduct underwater search operations. At one point, operations were halted in order to recover the deep tow vehicle and rectify a cable connection fault. Operations were quickly recommenced.”
Fugro Discovery, a second ship, is undergoing sea trials and is expected to join in the search efforts next week in, what authorities believe, is the second most likely area the plane may have come to rest.