MH370 - Phase One data released

19 July 2017

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The search for MH370 involved the collection and analysis of large volumes of marine data from a remote area. The data obtained during the first phase of sea floor mapping is now available to the public.

On 8 March 2014, Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 disappeared from air traffic control radar during a flight from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Beijing, China with 239 passengers and crew on board.

The Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) was established as the lead agency in the search, coordinating all Australian Government assistance and responsible for whole-of-government information, including keeping the families of those on the aircraft board and the general public informed of the progress of the search.

After initial air and sea searches, the governments of Malaysia, Australia and the People's Republic of China agreed that Australia would take the lead in the underwater search operation in the southern Indian Ocean.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) led the underwater search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean, including analysis of the search area, the sea floor mapping and sea floor search.

Geoscience Australia provided specialist advice and capability in the sea floor mapping and underwater search and provided an understanding of the environment in which the search was conducted.

The search comprised two phases, Phase One, a bathymetric survey, provided a detailed map of the seafloor topography in the search area; this was used to guide Phase Two, the underwater seafloor search. The underwater search used sidescan and multibeam sonar equipment mounted on towed and autonomous underwater vehicles to collect high-resolution sonar images of the sea floor in an attempt to identify the location of MH370.

Despite every effort using the best science available, cutting-edge technology, as well as modelling and advice from experts across a range of fields, the search has not been able to locate the missing aircraft.  The missing aircraft was not located within the 120,000 square kilometre underwater search area. Accordingly, in January 2017, the governments of Malaysia, Australia and the People's Republic of China jointly announced the suspension of the search until further credible evidence is available that identifies the specific location of the aircraft.

Australia, with the support of Malaysia and the People's Republic of China, committed to publicly releasing the data acquired during the bathymetric survey and underwater search. As such, the Phase One data is now available in multiple formats via the Geoscience Australia website.

Click on the link to learn more about the search for MH370 and to view the data.


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