Australia: MH370 search likely to end by June 2016

Deputy prime minister says hopeful of finding missing Malaysia Airlines plane, focus of search now on remaining 44,000 square meter area

Australia: MH370 search likely to end by June 2016

World Bulletin / News Desk

Almost two years after Beijing-bound Malaysia Airlines MH370 vanished after taking off from Kuala Lumpur, Australia's Deputy Prime Minister has said that it may take another seven months to find the missing plane.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported Warren Truss as saying during a press briefing Thursday that the underwater search for the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 is narrowing and will likely end by June 2016.

Australia, Malaysia and China "remain hopeful and indeed optimistic that we will still locate the aircraft," he said, adding that a total of 76,000 square kilometers (29,343 square miles) had been searched and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau would now focus its search on the southern-most part of their targeted area.

That area is in the "seventh arc" of the Indian Ocean, with only 25 percent of the area where the plane is most likely to be found left to be searched.

"Around 44,000 square kilometres [are] yet to be searched in this new priority area and it will [be] likely to take by next June" Truss said, underlining that searches are "in the right direction".

"We used different methodology and came to the same conclusions and that gives us real encouragement that every effort has been made to make sure that the search will focus and target for a satisfactory result," he added.

Beijing-bound MH370 -- which vanished an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur International Airport on March 8 last year -- was carrying 239 passengers and crew members, including 152 Chinese citizens.

The search and rescue mission has so far involved 65 aircraft, 95 vessels, and 25 countries.

After 10 months of intensive underwater search, on Jan. 29 Malaysia declared MH370 was lost in an accident, killing all passengers.

On July 29, a piece of aircraft debris was found washed ashore on the Le Reunion, east of Madagascar. 

Days after, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced that the flaperon was from MH370, and that the flight had indeed ended in the Indian Ocean.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 03 Aralık 2015, 14:36