SYDNEY (Xinhua) – Australian authorities have alerted Indonesia that wreckage from the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 may wash up on its coastline.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), which is leading the search for the aircraft off the coast of Western Australia, said in its latest operational update on Wednesday that floating debris from the aircraft may have drifted west away from Australia ‘s western coastline and towards Indonesia.
The missing plane disappeared in March with 239 people on board, and despite an extensive search, there has been no sign of any part of the aircraft.
ATSB said it had informed Indonesian authorities about finding possible aircraft debris.
The bureau said members of the Australian public have reported finding material washed up on the Australian coastline thinking it was the MH370.
“The ATSB reviews all of this correspondence carefully, but drift modelling undertaken by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority has suggested that if there were any floating debris, it is far more likely to have travelled west, away from the coastline of Australia,” the ATSB said.
A new underwater search began in October and so far approximately 1,200 square km of the ocean floor has been covered.
The search is focusing on a long, narrow arc in the southern Indian Ocean where MH370 made its last satellite communication.
The updated, highest probability search area is 60,000 square km and is expected to take vessels one year to cover.
Earlier this month, ATSB chief commissioner Martin Dolan told local media that while there was no certainty, there was a “high probability” that the wreckage of the plane would be found in the new search area. There are a range of scenarios that would fit the data, it’s just that some are more likely than others and there is a high probability that the aircraft will be found close to the ark,” Dolan said.