The Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) managing the
multinational search for the missing plane said it believed that the
plane came down in the southern Indian Ocean off Australia.
"I think that we have been looking in the right place," Angus
Houston, the head of JACC, told Sky New Australia. "I'm confident
the aircraft will be found."
A massive search operation involving satellites, aircraft, ships and
sophisticated underwater equipment capable of scouring the ocean
floor has failed to turn up any trace of the Boeing 777, which
disappeared on March 8.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Monday the chance of
finding floating debris was now remote, and a new phase of the
search would focus on the seabed northwest of the Australian city of
Australian geophysical survey company GeoResonance said it had been
conducting its own search for the plane and had found what appeared
to be plane wreckage in the Bay of Bengal, thousands of miles from
the current search area.
"The company is not declaring this is MH370, however it should be
investigated," GeoResonance said in a statement.
GeoResonance said it had passed on the information to Malaysian
Airlines and the Malaysian and Chinese embassies in Australia on
March 31, and to the JACC on April 4.
"The company and its directors are surprised by the lack of response
from the various authorities," GeoResonance said.
"This may be due to a lack of understanding of the company's
technological capabilities, or the JACC is extremely busy, or the
belief that the current search in the Southern Indian Ocean is the
only plausible location of the wreckage."
GeoResonance says on its website that it offers a unique and proven
method of geophysical survey that detects electromagnetic fields
from various chemical elements. GeoResonance did not respond to
requests for further comment.
The Australian-led search team said it was relying on information
from satellite and other data to determine the missing aircraft's
whereabouts and the location in the GeoResonance report was not
within that search arc.
[to top of second column]
Malaysia's Transport Ministry said it was assessing the credibility
of the latest report.
Flight MH370, carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew, went missing en
route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in what investigators suspect was
a "deliberate act".
After weeks of fruitless searching some 4.5 million sq km (1.7
million sq miles) of the remote southern Indian Ocean for floating
debris, aircraft and ships from Japan, China, the United States,
South Korea, Australia and New Zealand are now returning to their
Australia now plans to contract commercial companies to undertake a
sonar search of a 60,000 sq km (24,000 sq mile) area of seabed that
could take eight months or more at a cost of about A$60 million
Up to 26 countries, including several global and regional rivals,
have been involved in the search.
"To see such significant depth of international cooperation coming
together for one mission is unprecedented and highly encouraging for
the security and stability of the region," Vice Admiral Robert
Thomas, the commander of the U.S. Seventh Fleet said.
($1 = 1.0789
(Reporting by Lehar Maan in Bangalore and Lincoln Feast in Sydney;
editing by Robert Birsel)
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