MH370 Investigators Recommend Extending the Search 25,000 sq. km

20th Dec 2016

Have the investigators searching for the lost Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 finally admitted they were looking for the plane in the wrong place? Nothing official, of course, but the investigators have recommended the search to be extended to an area north of the Indian Ocean by an additional 25,000 square kilometers.

Search teams found no trace of the missing plane in the about 120,000 sq. km in the Indian Ocean west of Australian coast.

The notion to extend the search or move it to a different spot was unheard of before as far as the official MH370 investigation was concerned, but now it could happen. That is, if all three countries involved in the search agree.

This would be the second time the search gets extended.

At the moment, Australia remains opposed and cites a “lack of credible evidence” to do so. Malaysian and Chinese search teams are yet to make their move.

MH370 was a flight of a Malaysian carrier (Malaysia Airlines), carrying mostly Chinese passengers to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur and is believed to have crashed in Australian-controlled waters. The flight disappeared on March, 2014 with 239 crew and passengers on board.

ATSB Recommendation

On Tuesday, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), which coordinates the search efforts, advised the new search area be determined through analyzing sat-com with the aircraft, ocean drift and debris locations.

ATSB said:

There is a high degree of confidence that the previously identified underwater area searched to date does not contain the missing aircraft. Given the elimination of this area, the experts identified an area of approximately 25,000 sq. km as the area with the highest probability of containing the wreckage of the aircraft.

To this date, MH370 debris was found in only four locations so far, all outside the official search area. The first confirmed piece, a flaperon, was found on a French-owned island of Reunion, some 4,000 kilometers west of the search area on 29th June, 2015.

Other pieces were found on Mozambique (December, 2015), Rodrigues Island (February, 2016), South Africa and Rodrigues Island (March, 2016) and Madagascar (June, 2016). These are just the confirmed debris, a lot more debris have been reported but not yet confirmed officially.

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