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Australia’s science agency ‘more confident’ it knows MH370 crash location


CSIRO engineer Rob Gregor and oceanographer Emlyn Jones deploy the cut-down flaperon used for drift modelling in the search for MH370. Photograph: Supplied by CSIRO
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Australia’s chief science agency says it is more confident than ever that it knows the location of the missing flight MH370, as authorities in charge of the search are accused of withholding information.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau’s search for MH370 was suspended indefinitely in January after a deep-sea sonar scan in the southern Indian Ocean failed to find any trace of the plane that vanished in 2014.

New findings now appear to reaffirm the ATSB’s conclusion that the plane most likely crashed north of the area it spent more than two and a half years searching.

On Friday the CSIRO, Australia’s chief science agency, released a report it had prepared for the ATSB, modelling the drift of a genuine Boeing 777 flaperon in the ocean – previous testing had used inexact replicas.

For this analysis, scientists modified a genuine flaperon to mirror the damage that had occurred to the one from MH370 when it was found washed up on Réunion Island in July 2015.

David Griffin, who led the CSIRO research team, said testing an almost identical flaperon “added an extra level of assurance to the findings from our earlier drift modelling work”.

“It indicates that the most likely location of MH370 is in the new search area.

“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.”

The findings puts the crash site between latitudes 40°S and 30.5°S, reaffirming the ATSB’s conclusion in December that the airliner’s wreck was likely to be in a 25,000 sq km area north of the search area.

Flaperon used for drift modelling in the search for MH370. Photograph: Supplied by CSIRO

Flaperon used for drift modelling in the search for MH370. Photograph: Supplied by CSIRO

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