The first boat being used in a resumed deep-sea search for Malaysian Airline System Bhd. (MAS) flight 370 has embarked for the southern Indian Ocean, as investigators said three zones would be a priority.
The Malaysian-contracted GO Phoenix vessel departed from Singapore Sept. 9 and will receive instructions about its search zone within days, Martin Dolan, chief commissioner of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, said in an interview yesterday.
The deep-sea sonar search of the 60,000 square-kilometer (23,000 square-mile) zone off the coast of Western Australia is the best hope of finding the remains of the Boeing Co. (BA) 777-200, which disappeared March 8 with 239 people on board en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. The only clues to the aircraft’s final resting place have been data exchanges with an Inmarsat Plc (ISAT) satellite, which indicated it ditching somewhere along an arc of ocean west of Perth.
“We’re now at the point where we can say we’ve pretty much got a sequence of priority areas along the arc,” Dolan said. “We know the first place we’ll be searching and we’ll be formalizing the tasking for that within the next few days.”
A boat-based acoustic scan of the seafloor hadn’t found anything that merited GO Phoenix and two other survey vessels that will join the hunt concentrating on a single area, he said.