Australian scientists are "more confident" about location of MH370

New report says wreckage is north of original search zone

By Andrea Tim | Published: 21 Apr 2017

Where MH370 could be
CSIRO scientist David Griffin with the Boeing 777 flaperon (Photo: Peter Mathew/CSIRO)

Australian federal agency CSIRO is "more confident" that it knows where the missing Malaysia Airlines plane MH370 is.

In a new report released to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau today, CSIRO said that field tests of a genuine Boeing 777 flaperon (a part of the plane's wing) concluded that the missing plane has most likely ended up in a 25,000 sq km area located north of the actual 120,000 sq km search zone in the Southern Indian Ocean.

Flight MH370 had been transporting 239 people on board from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on 8 March 2014 when it went off the radar. In January, the underwater search in the Southern Indian Ocean was suspended. If the new findings are deemed credible, the search operation would resume.

CSIRO scientist David Griffin led an oceanographic study team to modify a genuine Boeing 777 flaperon to mimic the flaperon – believed to be from MH370 – that washed up on Réunion Island in July 2015. Extensive research was carried out to estimate how the flaperon's drift would be affected by wind and waves on the Indian Ocean.

"Our final recommendation is way more precise than I dreamed we would be able to achieve," Dr Griffin said in a CSIRO blog post. "When we started on this I thought we would be basing our conclusion on backtracking across the ocean. But that is doomed because of the distances involved. We stumbled upon something that gave much more certainty about the whereabouts of the plane than we anticipated."

"We have a much more detailed model of the global oceans, a much greater ability to analyse the satellite data measuring sea levels, and a clearer picture of ocean surfaces. It's the ability of those models to get value out of the data which has improved so much in the past 10-20 years.

"We had to work out what the ocean currents were doing every day for more than two years," Dr Griffin added.

An ATSB spokesman told the ABC: "Malaysia as the lead investigator will work closely with the Australian and Chinese governments in deciding any future search efforts."


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