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Missing Flight 370: Official search for black box, Bay of Bengal find dismissed

The Phoenix Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) Bluefin-21 is in the water after being craned over the side of Australian Defence Vessel Ocean Shield to use its side scan sonar in the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370's black boxes.
The Phoenix Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) Bluefin-21 is in the water after being craned over the side of Australian Defence Vessel Ocean Shield to use its side scan sonar in the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370's black boxes.
Photo by Handout/Getty Images

In the continuing search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, Australia's Joint Agency Coordination Center (JACC) has dismissed the findings of the Australian survey company GeoResonance, which announced earlier in the week that they had found metallic objects on the ocean floor in the Bay of Bengal consistent with the size of a large airliner. According to agency, it is confident that the multi-national search effort is looking in the right area.

“The Australian led search is relying on information from satellite and other data to determine the missing aircraft’s location. The location specified by the GeoResonance report is not within the search arc derived from this data,” the Joint Agency Coordination Center said in a statement Tuesday, the Associated Press reported (via Yahoo News) April 30. “The joint international team is satisfied that the final resting place of the missing aircraft is in the southerly portion of the search arc.”

GeoResonance's findings were not accompanied by a claim that they had actually found the missing Malaysia Airlines jet. However, they have made it publicly known that they expect their findings to be investigated.

"Any sort of information that comes forth needs to be investigated," Angus Houston, head of the JACC search effort, told Australia's Sky News. "It's certainly something that needs to be looked at and I believe it probably has been looked at, but I'm not aware of any of that detail. I'm focused on the search in our area of responsibility."

Malaysia Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said Tuesday: "Malaysia is working with its international partners to assess the credibility of this information." Those partners were China and Australia.

The GeoResonance announcement called into question the official search area, which has been situated off of Australia's west coast since information gathered by British satellite company Inmarsat that revealed pings from Flight MH370 had been detected as it headed in a southerly direction in the southern Indian Ocean. GeoResonance, a company that uses satellite and sonar imaging to search for oil, gas, and mineral deposits, said that data gathered between March 5 and March 10 indicated that objects consistent with the size of the missing plane had been detected about 180 miles west of Bangladesh.

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 disappeared on March 8.

The missing jet left Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia on its way to Beijing, China. For unknown reasons, the Boeing 777 carrying 239 passengers and crew seemed to alter its course over the South China Sea. The airliner then made its way west, then south, flying hundreds of miles off course.

The black boxes of Flight MH370, if found, could shed light on the mystery of the plane's disappearance. However, the batteries powering the black boxes were only supposed to last 30 days or so. Officials fear that, since it has now been more than 50 days since the jet vanished, the black boxes will have stopped emitting a signal, making finding the plane even more difficult. Some fear the missing jet may never be found.