Canberra: Bad weather in the Indian Ocean has delayed the Australian-led search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, the Joint Action Coordination Centre (JACC) said on Wednesday.
The search for the missing Boeing 777 jet was supposed to wrap up in June, however unforeseen inclement weather has delayed progress in searching 120,000 sq.km of sea floor, Xinhua news agency reported.
So far, more than 105,000 sq.km of the search zone has been combed, but the JACC said the remaining 15,000 sq.km could take until August to complete due to the poor winter weather.
“Poor conditions have prevented the safe deployment of deep tow search equipment from any of the vessels for the past three weeks,” Wednesday’s statement from the JACC said.
“These conditions make it unsafe for crew to perform some activities and to access some areas, such as the back working deck.”
The JACC said storms had caused monster swells of more than 18 metres, and although no damage to any search vessels were reported, medics were constantly monitoring the wellbeing of the crews on board.
“In the last week, a peak wave height of 18.2 metres was measured on board the vessel (the vessel itself is 20 metres from the waterline to the top of the mast). While none of the search vessels has sustained damage that would affect its ability to continue the search, the poor weather directly impacts on the crew, their ability to work effectively, and to get adequate rest,” the statement said.
“The doctors on board each vessel have been actively monitoring the health and wellbeing of all personnel.”
MH370 was a scheduled international passenger flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, but disappeared on March 8, 2014 with 239 passengers and crew on board.