The search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 is reaching a critical phase, with the next five months reportedly determining if the missing plane will be found or lost on the ocean floor forever.
For the last nine months, search crews have combed the ocean for the flight, which vanished March 8 with 239 crew and passengers on board. The search is now moving to a priority search area of roughly 40,000 square miles, which will likely be completed in the next few months.
“Assuming no significant delays with vessels, equipment or from the weather, the current underwater search area may be largely completed around May 2015,” a spokesman for the international search group told the Weekend Australian.
But the search will face great difficulty, the report noted.
“The water in the southern Indian Ocean is extremely deep, the terrain is varied and covers sub-sea volcanoes, mountains and valleys, and the search area is near treacherous southern hemisphere waters known for being whipped up by the famous ‘roaring forties’ wind.”
Many experts believe that the priority search area is the last real chance to find Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.
But others think the missing plane is already lost, with treacherous underwater conditions making it impossible to find.
“The current there is the worst in the world, the weather there is the worst in the world and the sea floor there is less well-known than the surface of the Moon,” author Nigel Cawthorne told Britain’s Express newspaper. “It is the most remote part of this planet.”
Cawthorne, author of the book Flight MH370: The Mystery, said he believes search crews may be nowhere near the plane.
“There’s no sensible theory to where it is,” Cawthorne said.
The disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 and the fruitless search has led to a number of conspiracy theories, including ideas that the missing plane was shot down by American armed forces or hijacked by terrorists and landed. But independent investigator Jeff Wise said the theories are nothing but “unrooted madness.”