Flight MH370 search 'will not be diminished' by MH17 crash
Australia insists hunt will go on, despite recovery chief flying out to Ukraine to deal with MH17
The downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine will not distract from the search for flight MH370, Australia's deputy prime minister Warren Truss has said.
Concerns were raised after Angus Houston, head of the operation to find MH370, was dispatched to Ukraine to oversee the recovery of the Australian victims who died in last week's MH17 crash.
But Truss insisted that Australia's commitment to MH370 was "not in any way diminished" by MH17, which is believed to have been shot down by pro-Russian rebels.
"Clearly there have been things needed to be done urgently in relation to 17 but there is absolutely no interruption to the program for 370," he said.
However, he conceded that some meetings with Malaysian officials to agree the next stage of the search might be delayed "because they have so much on their plate".
No trace has been found of MH370, which disappeared while carrying 239 passengers from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
The underwater search, which is expected to take up to a year, has been pushed back from August to September as an Australian-contracted ship Fugro Equator and a Chinese survey ship Zhu Kezhen map a 23,000 square-mile area of the Indian Ocean.
The survey of the ocean floor will allow a subsequent search using deep sea remote vehicles to avoid any hazard, reports The Australian.
Truss said there had been a "good response" for tenders for the major search operation, with a wide range of proposals in terms of cost. "It's a high profile search so it attracted, I think, some keen interest," he said.
Houston's role has been temporarily filled by Judith Zielke, a senior Australian civil servant.
"We remain fully committed to conducting a thorough undersea search of the likely impact zone in the Indian Ocean," said Truss in a press statement. "Australia owes it to the families of all of those on board MH370, the travelling public and indeed the wider world to solve this mystery."
Flight MH370: 'too little done' to prevent new disappearance
More than four months after the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, industry insiders have said that not enough is being done to prevent a repeat of the disaster.
They say the absence of any firm information about what happened on board the missing Boeing 777, along with airlines' fears about the cost of new regulations and the difficulty of securing international agreement, has meant that little has changed.
"Despite promises to ensure that such an event never recurs, there are doubts about how effectively the authorities will implement any recommendations to track commercial airliners," the Financial Times reports.
Remy Jouty, head of the French air safety body the BEA, told the paper that he had encountered resistance from airlines during previous attempts to tighten up aircraft monitoring.
After Air France flight AF447 crashed en route from Rio de Janeiro in June 2009, its flight recorders were not found for almost two years.
In response, French air accident investigators recommended that all large aircraft flying over water should be tracked continuously, and would be required to broadcast their position, altitude, speed and heading on a regular basis.
Neither of those recommendations was implemented.
"While the tracking technology exists," the paper reports, "Mr Jouty pointed to 'a need for governments at the international level to reach an agreement'. Although ICAO had discussed the proposals, he said 'one aspect' of its failure to require tracking was lobbying by airlines concerned about cost – a view corroborated by a senior airline executive."
As the search for flight MH370 continues, an Australian blog suggests that a new analysis of data released by independent investigators supports the theory that systems on board the aircraft may have been sabotaged soon after it left Malaysian airspace.
"The jet, with 239 people on board, flew in a circular or complex path for 52 minutes off the northern tip of Sumatra," it states, "before then flying an apparently straight course southwards for more than four hours before running out of fuel off the Indian Ocean coast of Western Australia."
More about Flight MH370:
Ghost flight theory 'most likely' explanationPilot had rehearsed landing on island runwayMystery cargo continues to raise questionsRelatives to offer $3m reward for informationBook claims missing plane was shot downFlight MH370: flight path suggests plane went 'rogue'Former PM accuses Malaysia of cover-up Plane 'has crashed with no survivors' Pilot of missing plane deleted simulator data'Deliberate action' diverted Malaysian airlinerPhantom phone calls cause upset for families ·