Australia reaffirms confidence over MH370 hunt

Canberra, Dec 3 (IANS) Australian authorities have expressed renewed confidence that they will find the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 within the current search area.

Australian Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss held a press conference on Thursday to announce that more than three-quarters of a “hot spot” area within the current search zone had been scoured for the plane that disappeared on March 8, 2014, Xinhua news agency reported.

Truss said the search teams remained hopeful that the missing airliner will be located in the final portion of the search zone.

“There’s around 44,000 sq.km yet to be searched in this new priority area, and we’re optimistic and hopeful that the search will result in us locating the aircraft,” Truss said.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) said new analysis had reaffirmed “the highest probability” that the aircraft was located in the search zone.

Martin Dolan, chief commissioner of the ATSB, said teams armed with new analysis from Australia’s Defence Science and Technology Group, were also rechecking priority areas.

Investigators had turned to 18th-century statistician Thomas Bayes to help map out the probable fate of the aircraft, Dolan said.

There is precedence as the English theologian’s pioneering work on probability helped locate Air France Flight 447 almost two years after it plunged into the Atlantic Ocean in 2009.

At the heart of Bayesian analysis is the quantification of a set of uncertainties. These calculations are continually updated as new information comes in. The US Coast Guard’s search and rescue teams rely on similar methodology.

The search for the Malaysia Airlines plane has been focusing on a 120,000 sq.km ‘arc’ of the southern Indian Ocean off Western Australia.

A flaperon from the Boeing 777-200ER was washed up in July on Reunion Island — a French overseas department off the east coast of Madagascar, but no other trace of the plane has been found.

MH370 disappeared after it departed Kuala Lumpur en route to Beijing with 239 people on board.

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