The search for the elusive flight MH 370 continues after more than a year of displaying no progress, and this time the search area was doubled to 120,000 square kilometers of ocean floor even before the original 60,000 square kilometers have been thoroughly covered. Malaysia, Australia, and China have approved the modified search area.
With 75 percent of the original search area already covered and the missing airplane still nowhere in sight, experts have agreed that expanding the search area gives the best chance of finding the Malaysian airplane. According to authorities, the area was doubled because it was "not possible to refine the search area to one of greater likelihood [of locating the plane]," Mirror reported.
The Joint Agency Coordination Centre of Australian Transport Safety Bureau said in a statement, "The search into the expanded area has already commenced, with search efforts focused in the south to take advantage of the last of the usable weather in that area," referring to the nearing local winter season in the said region, which can interfere with the search.
"The search plan has been modified to enable continuous search operations during winter and to ensure that the entire area is searched as quickly and effectively as possible," the statement further said, adding that the "safety of the search crews remains a priority." Three ships are involved in the search: Fugro Discovery, Fugro Equator and Go Phoenix, according to MSNBC.
Flight MH 370 disappeared in March 8, 2014 on its way to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur. Investigations and satellite data revealed that the Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 deviated from its course and headed south. It flew for several hours until it eventually ran out of fuel. Most of the flight's 227 passengers were Chinese while the rest are from 14 other countries.
There have been many speculations about the aircraft's disappearance but not one has been proven true, and many questions remain unanswered to this day.
The search for the missing airplane started in the Gulf of Thailand and South China Sea where it first disappeared from the radar. After satellite data showed that the flight headed to the southern Indian Ocean, the search area was expanded and Australia took charge of the search efforts. The Malaysian government released a statement that Flight MH 370 possibly crashed into the Indian Ocean, far from any landing site.
Australia, Malaysia and China have reportedly prepared a contingency plan should the missing aircraft be found, which includes "securing all the evidence necessary for the accident investigation," according to news.com.au.