US team joins last stage of MH370 search, says report

Attempts to find Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 are entering the final stage as an American scientific team prepares to join Chinese, Dutch and Australian investigators before search efforts are called off in June. The International Business Times said today the US team would bring specialist side-sonar gear, reportedly the most advanced equipment to be used since search operations began in April 2014. “We fully understand and appreciate the magnitude of this effort, and we look forward to assisting the ATSB (Australian Transport Safety Bureau) in finding MH370 and bringing closure to those impacted by this tragic event,” Phoenix International president Mike Kutzleb was quoted as saying. Phoenix International is a Maryland-based maritime solutions company specialising in manned and unmanned underwater operations, according to IBT. Hopes were raised earlier this year after the discovery of an object believed to be a part of an aircraft at the Beting Lintang beach in Besut. On January 29, however, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said assessments had confirmed the piece of plane wreckage was not from MH370. MH370 disappeared from radar on March 8, 2014, en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Investigators believe someone may have deliberately switched off MH370’s transponder before diverting it thousands of kilometres off course. In August, the Australian Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) confirmed that a part of the aircraft known as flaperon was found on Reunion Island, but there has since been no further trace of debris. All 227 passengers and 12 crew members on board are presumed dead after an official declaration from the government on January 29 last year, classifying the incident as an accident based on international aviation rules. – February 6, 2016.

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