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Deep-sea explorer who discovered Titanic ‘stopped from searching for missing MH370’

Deep-sea explorer who discovered Titanic 'stopped from searching for missing MH370'

A famous ocean explorer who found the Titanic says he was blocked from joining the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

Bob Ballard, who discovered the doomed ship at the bottom of Atlantic Ocean the in 1985, said he offered to help find the plane when it disappeared seven years ago.

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The passenger flight vanished on March 8, 2014, during a flight from Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia to China’s capital Beijing.

But he claims his moves to support the search were dismissed by the authorities leading the investigation.

“I was first on the phone call to Australia, who was really controlling the shots there,” he told National Geographic.

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A Malaysia Airlines plane is seen on the tarmac at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang on July 21, 2014. Malaysia Airlines said it would offer full refunds to customers who want to cancel their tickets in the wake of the MH17 disaster, just months after the carrier suffered another blow when flight MH370 disappeared. AFP PHOTO / MOHD RASFANMOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images
The Malaysian Airlines plan went missing on March 8, 2014

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“Even if they didn’t use my assets (in the search), I know how to find things, maybe I could help walk through the logic of it all, but they said they didn’t need me.

“I’m still game (to look for the plane). I would be more than glad to lend my intellect but they’ve never let me sit down at the table.”

The renowned underwater explorer added that new technology would greatly increase the chances of finding the missing plane, which was carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew members.

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WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 12: Bob Ballard, National Geographic Explorer-at-large, attends the National Geographic Awards on Wednesday, June 12, 2019, at Lisner Auditorium in Washington, D.C. The award ceremony was part of the week-long National Geographic Explorers Festival. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for National Geographic)
Ballard believes advances in underwater technology would aid the search

He said that the emergence of swarming autonomous vehicles can be used to search large areas of the seabed.

Despite failing to win over the authorities, he now plans to launch a second search for US aviation pioneer and author Amelia Earhart’s plane, which went missing over the Pacific Ocean in 1937.

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Ballard’s first attempt in 2019 was unsuccessful, but it gave him the chance to try out the latest technology during the search.

And he hopes new gadgets will inspire future generations to follow in his footsteps.

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A spare anchor sits in its well on the forepeek of the shipwrecked Titanic.
Ballard found the Titanic at the bottom at the Atlantic Ocean in 1985

“The United Nations estimates there are between three and four million shipwrecks in the ocean, so I think of them as time capsules of human history,” he said.

“I’ve been working in the Black Sea where the ships are literally in mint condition. I found a shipwreck from 250 BC that had human remains and perfectly preserved cargo.

“I’d like to tell the next generation that they’re going to explore more of Earth than all previous generations combined with the new advances in technologies.

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“Finding the Titanic would be like working with two cans and a string compared to what we have now.”

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