Anal­y­sis sheds light on doomed flight

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD -

CANBERRA, Aus­tralia — Anal­y­sis of a gen­uine Boe­ing 777 wing flap has reaf­firmed ex­perts’ opin­ion that a miss­ing Malaysian air­liner most likely crashed north of an aban­doned search area in the In­dian Ocean, of­fi­cials said on Fri­day.

The $160 mil­lion search for Malaysia Air­lines flight MH370 ended in Jan­uary af­ter a deep-sea sonar scan of 120,000 square kilo­me­ters of ocean floor south­west of Aus­tralia failed to find any trace of the flight that van­ished with 239 peo­ple aboard on March 8, 2014. But re­search has con­tin­ued in an ef­fort to re­fine a pos­si­ble new search.

Aus­tralian gov­ern­ment oceanog­ra­phers had ob­tained peo­ple a wing flap of the same model as the orig­i­nal and stud­ied how that part drifted in the ocean, the Aus­tralian Trans­port Safety Bureau said in a state­ment. Pre­vi­ous drift mod­el­ing used in­ex­act repli­cas.

The new anal­y­sis con­firmed find­ings re­leased in De­cem­ber that the air­liner likely crashed north of the searched area.

The De­cem­ber find­ings were based in part on drift anal­y­sis of six repli­cas of a piece of MH370 known as a flap­eron, which was found on Re­union Is­land in the west In­dian Ocean in July 2015.

David Grif­fin, an Aus­tralian gov­ern­ment oceanog­ra­pher who worked on replica anal­y­sis, said the new re­search con­firmed his sus­pi­cion that an ac­tual flap­eron would drift faster and to the left of the repli­cas’ course.

It sup­ported the De­cem­ber re­view’s find­ings by a team of in­ter­na­tional and Aus­tralian ex­perts who re-ex­am­ined all the data used to de­fine the orig­i­nal search zone that the wreck­age was most likely within a 25,000-square km area on the north­ern bound­ary of the last search zone.

“We can­not be ab­so­lutely cer­tain, but that is where all the ev­i­dence we have points us, and this new work leaves us more con­fi­dent in our find­ings,” Grif­fin said.

The find­ings add weight to calls by victims’ fam­i­lies for gov­ern­ments to re­sume the search for the air­liner that flew far off course dur­ing a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

China, Aus­tralia and Malaysia have agreed the search will re­main sus­pended un­less new ev­i­dence emerges that would pin­point the plane’s ex­act lo­ca­tion.

on board the flight trav­el­ing from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014 when it dis­ap­peared.

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