blaine gibson mh370

Flight MH370 search party dwindles to just one ship

The team searching for the remains of missing Malaysia Airlines aircraft Flight MH370 has dwindled to just one ship after a Chinese vessel pulled out and headed home to Shanghai.

According to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), Dutch survey ship Fugro Equator will finish the search of the southern Indian Ocean after resupplying at the south-west Australian port of Fremantle.

Chinese ship Dong Hai Jiu 101 finished searching the 46,000 square mile expanse last weekend and was heading back to Fremantle to drop off equipment before returning to its home port.

The Chinese ship in February joined three search vessels operated by Dutch underwater survey company Fugro in the hunt for the Boeing 777 that authorities say crashed with 239 people aboard far off the south-west coast of Australia on March 8 2014.

ATSB believes that the plane plunged into the sea at almost 400Km per hour after automated satellite communications with the Boeing 777 showed that its descent increased dramatically in its final minutes. 

Fugro Equator is expected to finish the search by February, the ship is using a highly manoeuvrable drone known as an autonomous underwater vehicle to get sonar images of difficult terrain.

A group of victims' relatives travelled to the island nation of Madagascar, off the south-east coast of Africa, and this week offered locals possible financial rewards to search for debris from the plane.

They believe that more debris (such as the piece pictured above) could help to determine what happened, more than 1,000 days after the flight disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

A Malaysian official investigating the disappearance visited Madagascar's capital, Antananarivo, to pick up debris that has already been found and will be analysed to see if it came from the aircraft.

Confirmation that the plane crashed came last year when a wing part washed ashore on Reunion Island in the western Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar. Authorities have offered no explanation for why the plane flew off course during a flight from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing.

The families of those who disappeared in the crash have accused Malaysian-led investigators of focusing too much on the deep-sea search for wreckage off the coast of Australia.

In July, Fugro project director Paul Kennedy theorised that their failure to find anything so far suggests the bulk of MH370 is in another location and that teams may have been scouring the wrong area for two years. 

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