After a hiatus of several months, the search for MH 370 has apparently resumed. Whether this is truly good news or just the beginning of another cycle of frustrating news remains to be seen.
While the scheduling is probably a coincidence, as this is being written, the NTSB is holding a one day forum on Emerging Flight Data and Locator Technology. No doubt the NTSB examination of this area was driven by MH 370 vanishing without a trace.
What’s so striking about the announcement regarding the resumption of the search for the aircraft is the complete absence of any meaningful information since the search was discontinued four months ago in late April.
So let’s see what’s really happening . . . .
The Australian government has been conducting a low resolution survey and mapping of over 111,000 square kilometers of ocean floor.
Once the survey and mapping is completed, sleds will be towed close to the ocean floor to conduct a high resolution examination.
The Australian Government and the Malaysian Government have agreed to each provide approximately $53 million, for a total of $106 million.
Public statements attributed to the search authorities suggest they believe they have identified the correct search area. If we were of a cynical nature, we might observe that every time the focus of the search efforts has been changed, search authorities have expressed great optimism.
Plane-ly Spoken, which, as our readers know, has closely followed the MH 370 investigation, has repeatedly expressed concern regarding statements coming from the investigators. While reporting on the resumption of search efforts and what is being done is appropriate, statements of optimism are no less irresponsible now than they were four months ago, no matter how cautiously they may be phrased. Given history to date, for Martin Dolan, the Chief Commissioner and CEO of the Australian Transportation Safety Board, to suggest to CNN or anyone that they have any measure of confidence in anything, is, if not irresponsible, certainly silly.
Seemingly lost in the rush to report the resumption of the search activities, is the fact that the families and the airline continue to be without any answers. While the search activities have taken on their own life and meaning, everyone should stay aware of the fact that, first and foremost, this is not really a logistical exercise in search and recovery.
Let’s not forget this is a human tragedy.
(Originally posted October 8, 2014)