A map of the area searched on Thursday March 20.
A map of the area searched on Thursday March 20. Department of Defence

Weather window expected to open in search for MH370

IT is hoped improving weather conditions will help in the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 off the West Australian coast.

Conditions yesterday made the search difficult with planes limited in in their effecticeness due to heavy cloud cover and strong winds.

Showers associated with the passage of a cold front on Thursday were easing,  The Bureau of Meteorology said today. Conditions were expected to slowly improve.

Because of the distance f the search area from the mainland, aircraft are limited to about a two-hour actual search time.

Five aircraft will be involved in today's search.

A Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) P3 Orion left  for the search area about  9.15am and a civil Gulfstream jet and a second RAAF P3 Orion were  due to depart for the search about 11am.

A third RAAF P3 Orion is due to depart about 1pm. The United States Navy P8 Poseidon aircraft is due to fly out to the search area about 4pm.

Due to the distance to and from the search area, the aircraft involved have an endurance of approximately 2 hours of search time.

One merchant vessel is currently in the search area. A second merchant vessel is due to arrive tonight


Search for plane continues in roughest part of the world

THE bulk of the missing Malaysia Airlines aircraft would be at the bottom of the ocean if it had crashed into the sea, an oceanographer says.

Chari Pattiaratchi, from the University of Western Australia, said the search area was known for its high winds, which create huge swells and waves.

The search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 will continue today off the West Australian coast.

Four aircraft were sent to the area yesterday, to undertake a needle and haystack search of a  23,000 square kilometre area about 2500km  south-west of Perth.

A merchant ship arrived in the search area on Thursday evening. and the Royal Australian Navy ship HMAS Success is also en route to the search area.

"You may have debris at the surface but the bulk of the aircraft would be at the bottom of the ocean," Professor Pattiaratchi told  Fairfax media.

"It's very deep down there - about 5km. Trying to get something out from 5km in the roughest part of the world is going to be extreme."

Oceanographer David Gallo, who co-led the search for Air France Flight 447, which crashed in the Atlantic Ocean in 2009, speculated that if the debris really was 24m long, as reported, it could be the tail section.

But he told CNN the size gave him a degree of concern. "It's a big piece of aircraft to have survived something like this," he said.

Wreckage from the Air France flight, which killed 216 people, was spotted five days after it crashed. However, it took almost two years to recover the black box.

- NZ Herald