Drift analysis says MH370 likely crashed north of search

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Fresh evidence suggests that Malaysia Airlines flight 370 is most likely located to the north of a main search zone, Australian scientists say.

The Malaysia Airlines flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing disappeared in March 2014 with 239 people on board.

In December, just as the search was wrapping up, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau revealed research that indicated a 9,700-square-mile area north of the zone had "the highest probability of containing the wreckage of the aircraft", the Guardian reported.

Previous drift modelling had used inexact replicas.

Ministers from Malaysia, Australia and China agreed that there needed to be "credible new evidence" if the operation was to continue.

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.

The $AUD200 million ($USD150.54 million) search for the aircraft was suspended when Malaysia and Australia rejected a recommendation to search north of the 120,000 sq km area already canvassed, saying the new area was too imprecise.

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'We can not 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'.

Earlier modelling had used replicas of a flaperon recovered from Reunion Island, the report said. Extensive research was carried out to estimate how the flaperon's drift would be affected by wind and waves on the Indian Ocean. "The arrival of MH370's flaperon at La Reunion in July 2015 now makes ideal sense".

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.

"But it is important to note that it does not provide new evidence leading to a specific location of MH370", Chester added.

"This body of "drift modeling" work, along with review of satellite imagery, forms part of the ongoing activities being undertaken by the ATSB in the search for MH370", Chester said.

"Malaysia is the lead investigator and any future requests in relation to searching for MH370 would be considered by Australia, at that time".

It supported the December review's findings by a team of global 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 kilometer (9,700-square mile) area on the northern boundary of the last search zone.

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