Transcript of Doorstop Interview—CH 10



30 July 2015

Topic: Wreckage on La Reunion Island

Question: The piece of wreckage that's been found, what can you tell us about that at this point in time?

Warren Truss: The discovery of this wreckage, which photographs suggest could well be parts from a Boeing 777, has certainly aroused a considerable interest. It is one step now to identify where the wreckage comes from, whether it is in fact equipment from a Boeing 777, and then secondly to link it to MH370 is another step.

This is obviously a very important development and certainly, if it is indeed wreckage from MH370, it starts to provide some closure for the families of the people who were on board.

Question: Now, where is the country, West- I believe we're still searching in a certain area off the coast of Western Australia. Is it likely to change the search area, search pattern?

Warren Truss: Well, the Reunion Islands are a very long way away from the search area, however, it is consistent with the work that's been done in identifying the current search area, the satellite interpretations of the route path that the aircraft is expected to have taken. So discovery of wreckage in that area would not be inconsistent with that advice.

Bear in mind that if it is wreckage from MH370, it's been in the water for something like 16 months. The photographs, they certainly show barnacles, and so that would suggest that this wreckage has been in the water for a long time.

So in 16 months, it's something like the piece of a wing, but obviously it travelled a very, very long way.

Question: Well once there's a bit of a study done on all the flight patterns, or things like that, is it likely that we are likely to put more resources into it, even other countries putting more resources into our search area?

Warren Truss: Well we have had good resources at the present time. Bear in mind that during the winter, the search area is a very hostile environment, and the vessels are not spending a lot of time actually on-site. But once the weather improves, then there'll be a renewed effort to make sure that we cover the whole area, and do everything we can to discover this aircraft. If there is wreckage identified on the Reunion Island, well then that's certainly going to add impetus to the search.

But in the interim, it'll provide us with some additional information to those seeking to come to grips with the issue of how the aircraft was lost, and that's the air crash investigators as well as for the families of those who perished.

Question: Well given this piece of wreckage has blown up onto this island over there, is there likely to be a little more of an intensive search around that region, as far as around the cliffs or whatever it might be, beaches [indistinct]?

Warren Truss: Well I'm sure there will be a much more thorough investigation now in that area. Bear in mind that the place where the wreckage has been found is not in Australian territory, it's not in our search and rescue area. It's the responsibility, therefore, primarily of the Malaysians, and then the French Government to undertake that element of the search.

But we're certainly very interested in the photographs that have been provided for the CSIRO in Australia to try and identify if there's anything useful to be learnt from the barnacles that show up in the photographs.

So we'll play a key role. It's still believed that the aircraft is resting in waters which are in the Australian search area, so this would be valuable information, and is not likely to lead to any change in the search strategy that we have at the present time.

The work that's been done in interpreting the satellite data has delivered to us the most likely place where the aircraft lies, but tends to support the view that the aircraft has entered the water in the Indian Ocean, and the area where we are looking is certainly the prospective site.