The search for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 moved to an area off the coast of Australia — about 1,550 miles southwest of the capital, Perth — yielded no results on Thursday, as they mystery of what happened to the massive airliner deepens.
Rescue operations moved to the area after satellite images spotted two large chunks floating in the waters of the Indian Ocean — one as large as 79-feet — which Australian authorities believed could be a piece of MH370.
It has been 14 days since the Malaysia Airlines flight took off from Kuala Lumpur en route to Beijing, China with 239 souls on board. As we know now, it never made it to its destination, and has become the most puzzling disappearance of an airliner in modern history.
Australia’s Defense Minister described the area being searched as one of the most inaccessible in the world, with high winds, strong currents, unpredictable weather, and 10,000 feet deep waters, making it highly likely that the location of the spotted parts are not where they were days ago.
On Thursday, operations to locate Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 were led by three PC-3 Orion aircraft from Australia and New Zealand, and the US aircraft Poseidon. However, efforts had to be called off due to heavy cloud cover and poor visibility.
Conditions were improved on Friday, thanks to a high pressure system, and searchers were able to do visual reconnaissance of the area instead of leaning on satellite images, with time running out and only 16 days of battery life left in the Malaysia Airlines black boxes.
Former commander of Australia’s military, Admiral Christopher Barrie described what those looking for the Malaysia Airliner are up against:
“It is going to be a needle in a haystack search. These things are not going to be detectable by radar or any other means other than a visual search.”
Crews only get two hours at a time because of fuel limitations and then have to return to base, since there is no other stations in the area.
The strong currents will generally take any debris floating in the waters off that part of Australia to the west and north, according to David Griffin, a physical oceanographer, which complicates the search further.
Authorities searching for the missing Malaysian airliner moved the search to this area of the Indian Ocean after investigators determined the aircraft had veered south, off course and continued flying for approximately seven hours after its last known radar position over the South China Sea.
As more information surfaces about what happened in the cockpit during those last moments when Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370’s co-pilot calmly signed off saying “Alright, goodnight,” investigators believe that the new course had already been entered into the plane’s computer system.
Authorities’ best guess at the moment — based on military radar information — is that the plane could have taken two possible courses. A route to the north encompassing northern Thailand, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan or one to the south icnluding Indonesia and the southern Indian Ocean where the search is being conducted almost two weeks to the date of the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.