A team of international experts and investigators hunting for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 have concluded that the aircraft is very unlikely to be in the current search area in the Indian Ocean.
“There is a high degree of confidence that the previously identified underwater area searched to date does not contain the missing aircraft,’’ the First Principles Review said in a report on Tuesday.
The independent analysis of the satellite data and the drift analysis had identified the most likely impact location of MH370 as slightly further north of where the search team had focused for the past two years.
Tuesday’s review is a summary of the outcome of a November meeting by Australian and international experts in satellite data, accident investigations, flight operations, sonar data, and oceanography.
The Australian Transport Security Bureau is leading the investigation into the aircraft, which went missing on March 8, 2014 during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board.
The investigation included an underwater search combing an area of 120,000 square kilometres of the Indian Ocean.
The last 10,000 square kilometres would be completed in January depending on weather conditions.
Malaysia, China and Australia had agreed to suspend the search if no credible new evidence about the plane’s location was discovered.
The new conclusion raised the prospect that the search would continue.
“Given the elimination of this area, the experts identified an area of approximately 25,000 kilometres squared as the area with the highest probability of containing the wreckage of the aircraft.
“The experts concluded that, if this area were to be searched, prospective areas for locating the aircraft wreckage based on all the analysis to date would be exhausted,’’ the report said.