Coast Guard At Ft. Macon Knows The Difficulty Of Searching For Wreckage In The Ocean

If a plane were to crash off of our coast, the first responders would be the U.S Coast Guard and officials here know the difficulties authorities are experiencing in Malaysia as they search for wreckage from the missing Malaysian Airlines Plane that is believed to have crashed over water this weekend.

Petty Officer John Kinstrey at Coast Guard Station Ft. Macon says finding that plane in the ocean is a lot harder than you would think. He says, "Searching for somebody in a big ocean is a lot different than finding somebody in the woods. Everything is dynamic, everything is moving all the time. That's the biggest hurdle with doing a search like this."

What makes it even tougher is that the plane seems to have vanished. Kinstrey says, "Where the incident happened is the most important piece of the information. We have to see where something happened or see some debris and that's where we start our search."

Kinstrey says another difficulty is, " You have currents, the wind effects it, the waves effect it. For instance, if a plane crashed off of Morehead City, if you're thirty miles out, you could be drifting south with the winds. If you're fifty miles out and hit the gulf stream current, you're heading north at 5 knots."

And with a missing object that is constantly moving what searchers really need is a clue. But in this case, that's also missing.

The Coast Guard says if they have no location--much like this current situation--their biggest asset is a plane that can cover a larger area faster than a boat--but even spotting the crash by air could take weeks.

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