THE search for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane may return to the possibility that the jet landed somewhere, according to latest media reports.
The New Strait Times quoted sources close to the investigation saying that the failure to turn up any debris at the current southern Indian Ocean search site was causing a rethink among investigators.
The latest report comes as authorities prepare to send the robotic vehicle underwater today for mission number 10.
More than 80 per cent of the underwater search zone for Flight MH370 has been scoured by Bluefin-21 and so far no contacts of interest have been found.
After being suspended yesterday, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority has planned a visual search today approximately 855 kilometres north west of Perth.
But again the weather may affect the effort, with heavy rain, widespread low cloud and south easterly winds predicted.
Visibility is expected to be limited to one kilometre.
Sources told The New Strait Times that they were considering revisiting the scenario that the plane had landed at an unknown location.
“The thought of it landing somewhere else is not impossible, as we have not found a single debris that could be linked to MH370. However, the possibility of a specific country hiding the plane when more than 20 nations are searching for it, seems absurd,” the sources said.
The sources told the paper that another possibility was that the plane had crash landed in a remote spot.
MH370 went missing March 8 on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing along with its crew and 227 passengers, most of them Chinese.
The hunt for the jet has focused on a search area about 1500km north west of Perth after pings believed to be from the plane’s black boxes were detected there.
The air search has been suspended due to bad weather as a result of Tropical Cyclone Jack.
“It has been determined that the current weather conditions are resulting in heavy seas and poor visibility, and would make any air search activities ineffective and potentially hazardous,” the Joint Agency Coordination Centre said in a statement.
Up to 10 military aircraft were part of the visual search. The 10 ships involved in the search will be able to continue their planned activities.
The unmanned submersible Bluefin-21 is still scouring the ocean depths on its ninth mission trying to locate wreckage from MH370.
So far it has searched about two thirds of the underwater area, with no contacts of interest found to date.
Meantime, family members of passengers lost on the missing flight have criticised the Malaysian government for an investigation they say has been mismanaged.
Appearing on US morning television, Sarah Bajc, the girlfriend of MH370 American passenger Philip Wood, told Today host Matt Lauer passengers’ loved ones all just “wanted to go back to square one”.
“We just don’t believe they’re using proper evaluative techniques to check the data,” she said. “It’s day 45 and we’re basically on the same position we were on the first day.”