A crewman aboard a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion
aircraft scans the ocean for missing Malaysian Airlines
flight MH370. REUTERS/Jason Reed
An RNZAF Orion based near Perth in Western Australia was
in the air again tonight searching in the Southern Indian Ocean
for evidence of the fate of the missing Malaysia Airlines
The aircraft returned to base this morning around 1.30pm
(NZT) after 11 hours in the air, bringing its total flying
hours in the search operation to 84 over the past 14 days.
Air Commodore Mike Yardley, Air Component Commander at
Headquarters Joint Forces New Zealand, said the Orion crew
searched the entire area allocated to them.
They also covered another smaller area nearby, where they
dropped a GPS marker buoy to measure the drift rate in the
Air Commodore Yardley said all they saw was seaweed.
They took off again this evening at 6.00pm (NZT) for another
The crew will have a rest day tomorrow and are expected to
fly again on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The desolate area in the Indian Ocean is about 2500
kilometres southwest of Perth, Australia, where three days of
searching for similar images from another satellite that
emerged earlier in the week have produced no results.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority, which is
co-ordinating the operation from the country's western coast,
said it refined the search based on the latest clue from the
Chinese satellite showing an object that appeared to be 22
metres by 13 metres.
It said that the object's position also fell within
Saturday's search area but it had not been sighted.
Sunday's search involving eight aircraft has been split into
two areas within the same proximity covering 59,000 square
kilometres. These areas have been determined by drift
modelling, the AMSA said.
Despite the frustrating lack of answers, Australian Prime
Minister Tony Abbott was upbeat.
"Obviously we have now had a number of very credible leads
and there is increasing hope - no more than hope - that we
might be on the road to discovering what did happen to this
ill-fated aircraft," Mr Abbott told reporters in Papua New