Wide search area, few facts make search for missing Malaysia airliner ‘unbelievably difficult’

Captain Tom Bunn and retired United States Coast Guard Lieutenant Hank Lipian on indicators helping officials


The inability for rescue crews to find Malaysia Airlines flight 370 several days after it disappeared has left experts perplexed as to what happened to the aircraft.

In an interview with Fox News’ Bryan Llenas, Tom Bunn and Hank Lipian used their aviation and rescue expertise to weigh in on the investigation.  Bunn is a former airline pilot and Lipian served as a United States Coast Guard lieutenant.

The widening search area, possibly stretching over 2,500 miles, is a challenge for investigators and rescuers.

“That’s a major part of the problem, the most difficult part of search and rescue is the search,” Lipian said. “Knowing where to begin your search and [trying] to calculate a particular search pattern is [critical].”

Lipian added, “if you don’t even know where the aircraft went down or where it occurred  … you’re talking about an unbelievably difficult search.”

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The time since the airliner’s disappearance will also weigh on the search. “Even if you have some estimate as to where they are going to be, that debris scatters,” Lipian said.

“Something must have happened rapidly,” Bunn said, pointing to the mechanics of the flight and the loss of the transponder signal. “Even if they had complete electrical failure, there is still the battery power … why they didn’t send out a transmission is a mystery.”

Lipian dismissed the possibility of a similar situation happening in or near the U.S. “The closer to the United States, the greater the likelihood this would not happen.”

Chris Snyder is a producer for Fox News based in New York. Follow him on twitter: @ChrisSnyderFox