Investigators searching for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 say that they may conclude their search of the priority zone in the Indian Ocean in May, over a year after the jet mysteriously disappeared.
According to the Daily Mail, the Joint Agency Co-ordination Center (JACC) said on Sunday that decisions about the future of the search for Flight MH370 would be made collaboratively between Malaysia, China, and Australia. The primary search area, also called the priority area, covers a 60,000 square kilometer arc off the coast of Australia. Around 200,000 square kilometers of the search area has been surveyed so far, while 9,000 square kilometers of the ocean floor has been searched to date.
Three vessels have been scouring the region for any sign of Flight MH370, attempting to detect the plane on the bottom. The Fugro Equator is currently mapping the seafloor in the search zone, and will return to Fremantle later this month when the current phase of its mission ends. The Fugro Discovery returned to the area on December 4, resuming underwater operations in the search for Flight MH370, while GO Phoenix rejoined the other ships last week.
The search for Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 could wind up in May http://t.co/eUCTh9U1pd pic.twitter.com/mUMo4j79pW
— nzherald (@nzherald) December 14, 2014
Last Friday, investigators announced they would be expanding the area in which they were searching for the Malaysia Airlines plane. As the Inquisitr previously reported, another 15,400 square miles were added to the search area, as investigators conceded that Flight MH370 may have spiraled into the ocean more slowly than was originally thought. Martin Dolan, ATSB chief, admitted that new data revealed the descent of flight MH370 may have happened in a larger circular path than investigators previously believed.
As the Sydney Morning Herald notes, Danica Weeks, whose husband Paul vanished on Flight MH370, penned an article for the Sunday Times, in which she recalled saying goodbye to him as he boarded the Malaysia Airlines plane.
Searchers for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 could finish covering the current priority zo... https://t.co/YuFM77mhfw pic.twitter.com/N3LUzTxoxI
— Franklin Lopez (@trueblue51) December 14, 2014
"But now, March 7 is permanently engraved in my mind and often on rewind," she noted. "Not only as the day we kissed Paul goodbye at Perth Airport, but because mentally, for me, it is still March 7."
Weeks also described the frustrations that families face in not knowing what truly happened to their loved ones on Flight MH370.
"You are searching the news constantly for any small piece of information that may give you a clue to their whereabouts, and your heart pounds every time the phone rings. Is this it? Have they found something?"
Last week, the families of Flight MH370 victims provided authorities with DNA samples, in order to assist identifying loved ones when the Malaysia Airlines plane is finally found.
[Image: Getty Images via the Daily Mail]