The MH370 search is replete with setbacks and difficulties, the latest one having to do with a lost tow fish. The tow fish sonar vehicle, crucial for the search, has been lost on the seabed after it crashed into an underwater volcano. It will take weeks to be recovered. Further delays in the search are, therefore, expected.
According to NBC News, the device was being towed by the Fugro Discovery search vessel when it slammed into a mud volcano measuring 7400 ft last Sunday. The Joint Agency Coordination Center (JACC) already confirmed the sad news. The impact of the collision led the tow fish and the 14,700 feet of cable to break free from the ship. It is now somewhere on the floor of the southern Indian Ocean - retrievable but not immediately. There were no injuries to crew, and it is believed it will be possible to recover the tow fish at a later date," the JACC stated. The good news is that there is a spare tow fish and it is now already being readied. Still, this delays further a search that is happening for quite some time now. It is also not just the one setback this week.
On January 27, JACC also released a statement saying a ship part of the mission, the Havila Harmony was damaged because of a fish net. The net bent its underwater communications pole so it is currently being repaired.
Apart from setbacks, the search is also bombarded with discoveries fueling false hopes. Recently, some debris were found in Thailand that turned out to be not from the missing MH370.
CNN reported that a large piece of curved metal paneling was found on Friday by a fisherman around the coast of Nakhon Si Thammarat. Many thought it is part of the passenger jet that disappeared back in March 2014. A Royal Thai Air Force spokesperson even fueled these speculations. "From seeing the pictures in local news, this is definitely not a piece from military aircraft, but it looks like a section from a big commercial aircraft in my personal opinion," Pongsak Semachai told CNN on Sunday.
However, further inspection led to denouncing of these speculations. A closer look showed that the metal does not belong to a B777 9M-MRO aircraft and as such, cannot be from the MH370.
All these setbacks are making the search deadlines loom closer. JACC already announced that its search will be completed by the middle of this year if they will fail in discovering credible new information.