Australian Search Effort Extends to Area Pinpointed by Independent Experts


RG-PR-Compo-01-OctIn what must as the most significant act of rapprochement in the history of underwater aircraft-accident investigation, it was learned today that the Fugro Equator, a bathymetry vessel contracted to map the seabed as part of the Australian government’s efforts to locate missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, has begun exploring the area that the Independent Group has identified as the jet’s most likely resting place. The chart above, supplied by Geoff Hyman [update 10/3/14: I’ve replaced it with a newer image from Don Thompson], shows the course of the Equator’s recent progress in red. The center of the Independent Group’s recommended area is marked with a blue cross. For months, the Australian Transport Safety Board has been focussing on an area hundreds of miles to the northeast, on the basis that flight routes that best fit Inmarsat data are most likely to terminate in such an area. The Independent Group has taken a different approach, and focused on routes that are both psychologically plausible and comport better with the way that airliners are actually flown. It is not known if the Equator’s current search zone indicates that the ATSB has come around to the independent expert’s line or reasoning, or is simply being thorough in mapping the entire zone where the plane might have come to rest.

23 thoughts on “Australian Search Effort Extends to Area Pinpointed by Independent Experts”

  1. They might also be placating the gallery now instead of later. The yelling from the sidelines was always going to increase. Neutralizing the press?

  2. The ATSB already had the IG’s basic model (turn at NW tip of Sumatra, fly at cruising speed) when they were searching in the EXACT SAME SPOT on March 17.

    Why did the families have to suffer for six months while inside investigators fought to disentangle themselves from their own provably bogus “refinements”?

    The whole thing smells like a giant charade. Time for the citizenry to demand a #Day200Audit of the ATSB.

    Thanks in advance to all of you for having the courage to spread the word.

  3. Interesting times, with the high priority areas getting looked at first, if it doesn’t show up relatively soon I guess everyone was sort of wrong. And if it doesn’t show up at all??

    If I had to bet now – no plane.

  4. It is encouraging that the search area is extending to latitudes south of the priority zone specified in the June report from the ATSB. That increases the chances that the plane will be found because it is consistent with other probable scenarios, such as the IG recommendation. If the ATSB has modified its search area based on input from others, that is a positive sign that our independent work is not all for naught. However, there should be no joy until the plane is found. And needless to say, nobody is proven right or wrong until that time.

  5. This new ATSB area looks close to approximately S37.75 – E88.75

    I assume this is for the seabed and not necessarily the water impact area (but close).

    On Saturday I posted a new Final South Turn Scenario at 18:40 to a final location of S36 E 89.5 at 488 knots.

    To get to this new ATSB area – I would estimate a Final South Turn Scenario at 18:38 (complete) to a final location of S37.75 E 88.75 at 490 knots.

    Please see the link below for details.

    1. It appears that the ATSB is now using the 18:40 BFO value to determine the final south turn times (which are from 18:30 to 19:00) to obtain this new search area.

    2. If this BFO value is correct – this means that the 18:38 Final South Turn Scenario is the most probable of the south turn scenarios.

    However, the 18:40 BFO value does by not rule out possible northern route scenarios.

  6. What I mean by “provably bogus”:

    March 14: Bloomberg reports investigators have disregarded as unreliable the altitude indications of Malaysian radar.

    March 28-April 1: Search moves 1,350nmi NE. Only reason given at the time: greater confidence in increased speeds from primary radar [has anyone ever even bothered to press the JIT on what this even MEANT? Was this extra speed vertical, or horizontal? If horizontal, how can the later withdrawal of this assumption (next paragraph) make any sense? If vertical, why the sudden change of heart on altitude credibility (see paragraph above) – and why cite “speed” instead of “altitude”?]

    June 23: NY Times quotes Houston and Dolan as having decided in the “last few weeks” that the altitude indications of Malaysian radar shold now be disregarded, resulting in reduced fuel burn, and thus a more southerly best-estimate track.

    {I’ve already proven that “excess fuel burn” REDUCES access to s21, where they dipped their pinger detectors in, so the claimed connection between fuel burn and the s21 location – both on the way IN to that location, and on the way OUT – is evidence of spectacular incompetence, intentional misdirection, or (to be fair…) both.}

    [though “aircraft passed close to a NW point at 1912” (thanks for the precision, there, gang) was back-filled months later as an “additional” reason for moving the search, this change in assumption was never mapped – or ascribed to any data or logic – or reconciled to the contrary indications of Inmarsat signal data, 18:27-18:40 – and has now been retracted, with zero explanation.]

    If the plane is found where they are now searching, the need for the JIT to come clean on these matters will INCREASE, not decrease. Evidence tampering (e.g. deliberately letting key evidence “age” in seawater, and/or giving someone time to remove/plant evidence) is a material risk, here; the ATSB needs to turn their models inside out, so the general public can verify ALL search moves were in the best interests of the families of passengers and crew.

    While paltry in comparison to what the families have gone through, I have suffered personally from the time and energy I’ve spent since April trying to bring to light the need for greater public accountability from the JIT, and the agencies it directs. I’ve been greatly heartened by the kind words I’ve received from the families – but bitterly disappointed by the THUNDERING apathy of people who could actually help get this “citizen’s audit” off the ground, but haven’t.

    I beg educated, influential, and engaged readers for their help. I am running out of energy.

  7. 1. I should clarify that if the 18:40 BFO
    value is accurate and indicates a nearly tangential flight path to the satellite – then the 18:30 turn to the S37.75 – E88.75 location at 490 knots – is a better fit than the ATSB previous one of ~ S30.5 – E96.
    The previous ATSB path required MH370 to make a small turn around 18:30 and fly to
    ~ N10 E92.5, then at ~ 19:00 make a final sharp south turn and touching the 19:41
    arc at 19:41 then continuing to the south.

  8. Brock: while I understand your frustration, I believe the ATSB is displaying a healthy and dynamic response to the search process. As Victor and Joe have pointed out, it is best to encourage the ATSB to actually search for the location of the remains of the aircraft in a flexible and responsive manner. They are to be commended for the relocation of the assets at their disposal, and nothing else. As Jeff has pointed out, this is a singular moment in the history of aviation search and recovery – and nice one for social media – in that a crowd-sourced effort has received a high level response from the powers that be. The ATSB does not have an open-ended budget, and they have dedicated valuable resources to the IG’s search zone; I believe that this is perhaps a healthier way of framing things. Ain’t it so, Joe?

    Also, AF447 was located by the brother and sisters of Bayes Theorem at consultancy Metron precisely by way of returning to a site previously examined and searched by the recovery team two years previous.

    Be cheered, Brock, there is progress, people charged with shaping the search are apparently hearing the voices in the peanut gallery.

  9. Jeff: A couple of weeks ago, you indicated that a two-phased flight (i.e., an intentional diversion followed by a ghost flight south), which originally had gained some support, had since gone the way of the dodo: not dead, but dying off. Would you mind sharing what indicates that there is now less evidence (if any) supporting this model?

    I ask, because in my mind I perceive that there are now additional indications of a “transition” from one phase (diverted flight) to another (ghost flight to an SIO terminus). We began with reconciling an intentional diversion with a terminal flight to the SIO (generally nonsensical), while we now also have: 1. the turn to the south; 2. the powering up of the SDU; and 3. perhaps a bit of loitering prior to the turn to the south. Does this not a transition make? Thanks.

  10. I would say that I and others have become increasingly convinced that the 18:25 SDU power-up could only have been a deliberate act, so it seems less likely that what happened around that time represented some sort of passenger rebellion or catastrophic malfunction, but rather was of a piece with what transpired before. Having said that, I think that we’ve all become more agnostic about what the motive was or who the agents were, and more just trying to figure out what was physically possible given the constraints of the Inmarsat data and airplane performance. In other words, we don’t really know if it was a “one-phase” or a “two-phase” event, but have to press on regardless.

  11. Rand: thanks for the encouragement. I KNOW the rank and file searchers are doing their level best to find MH370 (as are we, to help), and I HOPE that diligence extends right to the top of the official investigation.

    I FEAR it does not. I fear the arrival (back) at s38 has been intentionally delayed.

    The evidence to date supports my fears more so than my hopes.

  12. @JeffWise

    Respectfully Jeff, you have yet to address this:

    JeffOn:”If coincidental, doubly so given the similar time gap between “Good Night, Malaysia” and the powering off of ACARS, transponder, etc + initiation of the turn to the west.”Off

    JohnOn:But the indication is that the time periods are indeed coincidental, because the 2 events are not the same by definition.

    The ist was after a “handoff” from ATC which was readily discernable. (poweroff) The 2nd was after a disappearance from primary radar (power-on). During the 1st the plane would have still been visible to primary radar.

    Those two events are not related, nor does “3 minutes” have any significance operationally. If you disagree please provide the precise significance of “3 minutes” if not coincidental.Off

    I would also note that the power-up of the SDU *could* in fact be a “deliberate act” with no intentional relationship whatever to the prior power-off

  13. Re the off/on of the SDU: again, an alternative is that one party turned it off and engineered the diversion, while another party turned it on after regaining control of the flight deck – only soon to lose control of the aircraft (e.g., hypoxia), as indicated by the resulting terminal flight to the SIO.

    But i would agree: we have beaten the monkey of speculation to the point of stupidity, where virtually every possible scenario has by now been suggested in one forum or another – save for John’s. 😉

    I’m just ribbing you, John. I know very well that you are pursuing your investigation; your reticence is justified.

    Should we continue posting here or move up to Jeff’s latest piece? I’m boggled. Perhaps everyone has already moved up on out.

  14. @Rand

    That’s ok Rand rib away….. :-)……we’re all big boys here. In fact with very few exceptions, I enjoy everyone here.

    But, some more eyebrows will no doubt be raised when I release my most recent response to the IG’s latest and also Ulich’s white paper.

    That should be very soon…… include my revised coordinates for the MH370 search area…….far away from everyone I’m afraid…. 🙁

  15. Hi Jeff and Geoff,

    What was the date and time for the last Fugro Equator location?

    I hope Geoff provides frequent updates. It’s the best way available to see what the ATSB is doing.


  16. Hi John,

    The position you gave (from 9-19) is not anywhere near the 7th arc. I was asking for the date and time of the Fugro Equator’s position on the 7th arc at 38.4S, 87.6E (SW of IG). I expect it is only a day or two old.


  17. Dr. Bobby Ulich
    Posted October 1, 2014 at 10:24 AM

    Hi Dr. Ulich ~

    “@MikeChillit: FWIW, Fugro Equator came to a full stop in SIO about an hour ago. May not mean anything. Don’t know. #MH370

    “@MikeChillit: Equator at full stop again for more than an hour. Not to read too much into it. Is at the top of a sweep run. #MH370


  18. Hi LG,

    I suppose they might be retrieving gear so they can do a 180 degree turn and then redeploy and mow back in the other direction.

    Do you happen to know their current coordinates?


  19. Dr. Bobby Ulich
    Posted October 2, 2014 at 4:57 AM

    “Do you happen to know their current coordinates?”

    Hi Dr. Bobby ~

    I’m updating my previous comment that, at present time, has not yet posted on this website. Pardon the redundancy:

    “@MikeChillit: Fugro Equator is the purple circle. Moving SW again at a good clip for scanning. #MH370

    “@MikeChillit: Some additional info on Equator’s current position. Weather may be an issue today. #MH370

    This is the latest information presented by Mr. Mike Chillit via Twitter. I encourage you to follow Mike’s account @MikeChillit on Twitter because he presents frequent updates and a variety of visual aids. Great guy, too!

    If you are not yet on Twitter and you decide to join please follow me as well and I will be glad to help you get started.


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