Australia’s deputy prime minister said Wednesday he was “cautiously optimistic” about finding missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 as he announced new details of the effort to map ocean floor ridges and volcanoes that may be concealing the wreckage. Dutch deep-sea survey company Fugro has been contracted to next month begin a search of a 23,000 square mile patch of the bottom of the southern Indian Ocean that could take a year, Warren truss told reporters. “This is the most prospective area, it's been chosen on the basis of the best expert advice, now we intend to search it thoroughly and hopefully we'll find the aircraft,” he said.
Australian Transport Safety Bureau chief commissioner Martin Dolan told the same news conference that a Chinese and Australian bathymetric survey had revealed unusual topography in the region, about 1,000 miles west of Perth. “We haven’t completed the mapping so we’re still discovering detailed features that we had no knowledge of — underwater volcanoes and various other things — so we’re finding some surprises as we go through,” Dolan said, according to The Australian. Truss added: “The ocean is not simply flat and featureless. There’s quite a lot of geological features there that will be a challenge in the search." The Boeing 777 vanished during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8 with 239 passengers and crew aboard.
- Alastair Jamieson