Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott gave a speech today where he reassured the families of missing passengers aboard Malaysia Airlines flight 370 that, “We are not going to abandon … the families of the 239 people who were on that plane by lightly surrendering while there is reasonable hope of finding something.” As Australian, Chinese, and international vessels continue to search for the plane’s remains, a dire situation is only starting to look worse.
Some 80% of the projected search area has already been searched by a high-tech Bluefin-21 aquatic drone, but to no avail. If the entire search area is examined without any leads, Malaysian and Australian authorities may be left with very few satisfactory options. According to CNN:
Malaysian and Australian authorities are already mapping out a long-term strategy for the search, which could conceivably go on for months or years, if the two-year search for Air France Flight 447 is any guide.
Guidelines drafted by Malaysia raise the possibility of a significantly wider search area should the current underwater search fail to turn up evidence of the plane. The document discusses how best to deploy resources, including new underwater search assets.
If the plane is ever found (let’s be a wee bit optimistic here) then experts have to hope that the blackbox flight-recorder has not been damaged after weeks spent at the bottom of the ocean. Only time will tell, and it might be a lot of time.