The captain of the Australian navy vessel leading the on-water hunt for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight has revealed the pieces of debris being sought are so small they cannot be picked on the ship’s radar.
HMAS Success has been posted in the Southern Indian Ocean for days, searching for any sign of the wreckage of MH370, which went missing more than two weeks ago with 239 people on board.
After confirmation by the airline and Malaysian government earlier this week that the flight was lost with no chance of survival for any passengers or crew, Captain Allison Norris and her crew were one of the first ships to arrive in the area to follow any leads supplied from the air.
On Thursday, 11 aircraft and five ships were due in the search zone more than 2000km off Perth, but the search was called off for the day because of deteriorating weather conditions.
Speaking before the search was postponed by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), Captain Norris said they were expecting conditions to stay bad through Friday.
“Yesterday was very good for visibility, but we expect the conditions to deteriorate over the next 24 to 48 hours,” she told CNN.
“We would adjust our search pattern to maximise the possibility of finding something in the water.
“But we have not sighted anything related to the missing flight.”
Malaysian authorities revealed late on Wednesday that satellites had picked up 122 potential pieces of debris in the search zone.
But Capt Norris said the ship’s spotters had found no concrete evidence of a crash site yet.
She also reiterated the massive task was still ahead of the search teams.
“The type of wreckage or object we are looking for is so close to the water line that our radars would not be able to pick it up,” Capt Norris said.
“We are very reliant on lookouts who use binoculars and night vision devices to scan the horizon and scan the area around our ship.
“It is very cold so we rotate the lookouts through every hour.”
HMAS Success remained in the search zone after unhelpful weather conditions forced out all search planes just after 12.30pm (WST) on Thursday and will continue to hunt for debris.