SYDNEY – Australian scientists believe the wreckage of the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 is located north of the official search zone in the Indian Ocean, according to a report released on Friday.
The latest research comes after authorities from Malaysia, Australia and China announced the termination of search efforts in January, after covering around 120,000 square kilometers (46,332 sq miles) of the ocean bed to no avail.
In the research prepared for the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) found that the remains of the airplane, which disappeared with 239 passengers and crew members on board, could be found in a new area of around 25,000 square kilometers, north of the original search zone.
The scientists used ocean drift modeling and part of a Boeing 777 wing, called a flaperon, to determine the movement of the plane and pinpoint its possible location.
Dr. David Griffin of the CSIRO said using an actual flaperon had added “an extra level of assurance” to the findings, with earlier tests conducted using replicas.
“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,” he said.
Australian Transport Minister Darren Chester welcomed the report, but said it did not provide new evidence about the specific location of the plane.
“The CSIRO report has been provided to Malaysia for consideration in its ongoing investigation into the disappearance of MH370,” he said.
The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane disappeared on March 8, 2014, around 40 minutes after taking off from Kuala Lumpur for Beijing, when it disappeared from aviation radars.
Experts believe the plane crashed in a remote area in the southern Indian Ocean after running out of fuel.
Some plane parts swept in by currents from the Indian Ocean were recovered from beaches in Reunion, Mozambique, Mauritius, South Africa and the French island of Rodrigues.
Authorities have spent over $135 million on the search efforts, which began shortly after the plane went missing and ended in January.