As I write this, there is unconfirmed news that a wing section from stricken flight MH370 has been washed up on the shore of an island a considerable distance from the ‘official’ search site that has been and still is the subject of intense activity. Most of us have no idea of the scale of a recovery operation of this nature, either of its total surface area or even more significant of the underwater terrain and the difficulties faced by anyone searching it. Most of the underwater west of Australia had never been mapped prior to March 2014, so before any search could take place there was a great deal of preparatory work needed……as I say, most of us have no idea what is involved.
After the initial press and TV coverage had subsided, with even the title of the this being the ‘worlds biggest unsolved air mystery’, most of us again I suspect literally lost this story off our news radar; we had no idea that searching was still ongoing and that resources were still being ploughed into looking for something that was literally the needle in the proverbial haystack. Nothing surfaced, pardon the pun, for weeks at a time and then in March of this year there was the first anniversary of the loss and once again the news wires carried something, only for it to sink again soon after.
So when this week, from nowhere and seemingly totally by surprise, a section of plane wing washed up, the TV coverage featured one Martin Dolan, who heads up the Australian Transport Safety Bureau and I watched with great interest as he was interviewed for the BBC. There was little facial expression as he described that at no time was there ever a search NOT ongoing and, significantly, was there no indication that they would not find the plane. His persistence and dogged determination shone through and his grasp of what was happening and his lines of operation were crystal clear to him. I admired him greatly; when you and I would have given up from looking out onto acres of vast greyness, his team had been inspired by him to maintain their vigil and keep on doing what they were paid to do.
Brilliant commitment and wonderful grit.