A top US defense official says the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 may continue for “years” as an underwater search for the passenger plane debris has failed to produce any results so far.
According to the American official, the search operation for the plane, which went missing on March 8 with 239 people aboard, would now enter a more difficult phase of scouring broader areas of the ocean near where the plane is believed to have crashed.
“We went all in on this small area and didn’t find anything. Now you’ve got to go back to the big area,” the official said, adding, “And now you’re talking years.”
The undersea drone Bluefin-21 is supposed to end on Friday its probably last trip to depths of over 4.5 kilometer (2.8 miles) searching a 10-square-kilometer (6.2- square-mile) stretch of seabed about 2,000 miles northwest of the Australian city of Perth.
The area was identified after authorities detected what they suspected was a signal from the jet’s black box recorder on April 4.
The US official further noted that Malaysia should decide how to proceed with the search operation.
The development comes as Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, whose government has faced criticism over its transparency on MH370, has pledged that a preliminary report submitted to the UN’s aviation body would be released publicly.
“In the name of transparency, we will release the report next week,” he said on Thursday.