MH370 anal­y­sis claims no one con­trolled plane dur­ing crash

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

A fresh anal­y­sis of the fi­nal mo­ments of doomed Malaysia Air­lines Flight 370 sug­gests no one was con­trol­ling the plane when it plunged into the ocean, ac­cord­ing to a re­port re­leased by in­ves­ti­ga­tors yes­ter­day, as ex­perts hunt­ing for the air­craft gath­ered in Aus­tralia’s cap­i­tal to dis­cuss the fad­ing search ef­fort.

A tech­ni­cal re­port re­leased by the Aus­tralian Trans­port Safety Bureau, which leads the search, seems to sup­port the the­ory in­ves­ti­ga­tors have long fa­vored: that no one was at the con­trols of the Boe­ing 777 when it ran out of fuel and dove at high speed into a re­mote patch of the In­dian Ocean off west­ern Aus­tralia in 2014. In re­cent months, crit­ics have in­creas­ingly been push­ing the al­ter­nate the­ory that some­one was still con­trol­ling the plane at the end of its flight. If that was the case, the air­craft could have glided much far­ther, tripling in size the pos­si­ble area where it could have crashed and fur­ther com­pli­cat­ing the al­ready hugely com­plex ef­fort to find it.

But Wed­nes­day’s re­port shows that the lat­est anal­y­sis of satel­lite data is con­sis­tent with the plane be­ing in a “high and in­creas­ing rate of de­scent” in its fi­nal mo­ments. The re­port also said that an anal­y­sis of a wing flap that washed ashore in Tan­za­nia in­di­cates the flap was likely not de­ployed when it broke off the plane. A pi­lot would typ­i­cally ex­tend the flaps dur­ing a con­trolled ditch­ing. Peter Fo­ley, the bureau’s di­rec­tor of Flight 370 search op­er­a­tions, has pre­vi­ously said that if the flap was not de­ployed, it would al­most cer­tainly rule out the the­ory that the plane en­tered the wa­ter in a con­trolled ditch and would ef­fec­tively val­i­date that searchers are look­ing in the right place for the wreck­age.

New ev­i­dence

“(It) means the air­craft wasn’t con­fig­ured for a land­ing or a ditch­ing - you can draw your own con­clu­sions as to whether that means some­one was in con­trol,” Fo­ley told re­porters in Can­berra yes­ter­day. “You can never be 100 per­cent. We are very re­luc­tant to ex­press ab­so­lute cer­tainty.” The re­port’s re­lease comes as a team of in­ter­na­tional and Aus­tralian ex­perts be­gin a three-day sum­mit in Can­berra to re-ex­am­ine all the data as­so­ci­ated with the hunt for the plane, which van­ished dur­ing a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Bei­jing on March 8, 2014, with 239 peo­ple on board.

More than 20 items of de­bris sus­pected or con­firmed to be from the plane have washed ashore on coast­lines through­out the In­dian Ocean. But a deep-sea sonar search for the main un­der­wa­ter wreck­age has found noth­ing. Crews are ex­pect to com­plete their sweep of the 120,000-square kilo­me­ter search zone by early next year and of­fi­cials have said there are no plans to ex­tend the hunt un­less new ev­i­dence emerges that would pin­point a spe­cific lo­ca­tion of the air­craft.

Aus­tralian Trans­port Min­is­ter Dar­ren Ch­ester said ex­perts in­volved in this week’s sum­mit will be work­ing on guid­ance for any po­ten­tial fu­ture search op­er­a­tions. Ex­perts have been pre­emp­tively try­ing to de­fine a new search area by study­ing where in the In­dian Ocean the first piece of wreck­age re­cov­ered from the plane - a wing flap known as a flap­eron - most likely drifted from after the plane crashed. —AFP

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