MH370 Search: British Airline Chief Says Hunt May Take ‘Decades’ Due to Extent of Possible Damage

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By Reissa Su | June 24, 2014 10:26 PM EST

Malaysia Airlines' British commercial chief has admitted that the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 may take "decades." In a rare interview, Hugh Dunleavy has criticised the Malaysian government for its response to the aircraft's disappearance.

REUTERS/Samsul Said
A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 737-800 aircraft parks on tarmac of Kuala Lumpur International Airport outside Kuala Lumpur June 14, 2014. REUTERS/Samsul Said (MALAYSIA - Tags: DISASTER TRANSPORT)

The former employee of the Ministry of Defence, who served as Malaysia Airlines' director of commercial operations in 2012, believes "something untoward" had happened to the Boeing plane with 239 people on board. Flight MH370 had disappeared on March 8 while on its way to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur.

Dunleavy thinks the plane may have made a turn to go back but a "sequence of events" overpowered it. In an interview by the Evening Standard, he said the missing plane may be somewhere in the Indian Ocean. He believes the plane crashing in the ocean is like a plane hitting concrete. He said the wreckage may be spread over a big area.

He added that the ocean has underwater mountains and oceans. The search for MH370 may take "decades" to find. According to reports, a senior Malaysian official had feared the search for the plane may take weeks or months a few days after the aircraft was noticed missing.

Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said "we are in for the long haul."

Dunleavy came to the defence of Malaysia Airlines regarding its initial response and talked about the lack of personnel in the "office." He slammed Malaysian authorities for delaying to reveal information that MH370 had turned back over the Malay peninsula which points to the direction of the Strait of Malaca.

Defective radar equipment

Meanwhile, reports have surfaced that the Malaysia's military radar equipment may have been defective. Retired Australian military chief Angus Houston said the radar had not been calibrated to indicate the precise altitude of MH370. He suggested the plane may have been flown further than authorities previously believed.

Houston said readings of Malaysian primary radar data may be "inaccurate" as the plane may not have "swooped and soared" before its fuel tanks ran out in the Indian Ocean.  He said it was possible that MH370 soared to 23,000 feet during its flight, but he doubts the possibility of the plane's "erratic flight behaviour."

According to reports, the latest lead can help crash investigators consider the idea that the plane may not have sustained damage in mid-air and continued flying until it ran out of fuel. The news came after Australia has announced the search zone is being moved to hundreds of kilometres in the south. 

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(Photo: REUTERS/Samsul Said / )
A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 737-800 aircraft parks on tarmac of Kuala Lumpur International Airport outside Kuala Lumpur June 14, 2014. REUTERS/Samsul Said (MALAYSIA - Tags: DISASTER TRANSPORT)
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