The Australia-led search team for the missing Malaysian flight MH370 has discovered 58 hard objects inconsistent with the Indian Ocean seabed, raising hopes of solving the over six months-long aviation mystery.
Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said the Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) which is leading the search for the plane is currently in the midst of retrieving the objects to be analysed.
“We have only discovered 58 solid objects, but yet to learn if they are from (Malaysia Airlines) flight MH370. We have to verify whether the objects are the plane’s wreckage or hard rocks before coming to a conclusion,” he said.
Liow also said Malaysia’s Petronas will be deploying its “Go Phoenix” vessel to assist in the MH370 search mission at the southern Indian Ocean floor.
He said the asset, which is commonly used in oil exploration is expected to arrive in Perth on September 21.
“Go Phoenix will help in the search mission, alongside Australia’s Furgo Discovery ship to map the ocean floor,” Liow was quoted as saying by the New Strait Times.
The Beijing-bound Boeing 777-200 carrying 239 people, including five Indians, an Indo-Canadian and 154 Chinese nationals – mysteriously vanished on March 8 en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur.
Earlier this month, the Australian authority leading the search for the plane said that “hard spots” had been found on the Indian Ocean seabed, but that most would likely be geological features.
Experts are conducting a sonar survey of a remote patch of the southern Indian Ocean, an area never previously explored in such detail, in preparation for an underwater search for the plane.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau had said the sonar search had provided information on the depth of the water and the composition of the sea floor in the search zone.
Last month Australian Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss said the ongoing mapping of the ocean floor had already uncovered “quite remarkable” geographical features, including the discovery of new volcanoes up to 2,000 metres high.