Monday 19 March 2018

Search for missing flight MH370 narrowed to Indian Ocean 'hot spot'

The hunt for missing MH370 goes on in the Indian Ocean
The hunt for missing MH370 goes on in the Indian Ocean

Jonathan Pearlman

Authorities conducting the hunt for the missing MH370 aircraft have narrowed the search area to a "hot spot" in the southern Indian Ocean but insisted they are looking in the right place.

Experts at Australia's Defence Science and Technology Group identified a high-priority zone covering 20 nautical miles on each side of the Malaysia Airlines plane's presumed "arc" - or route - after it disappeared. The Boeing 777, carrying 239 passengers and crew, went missing on March 8 last year during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

The new analysis examined the flight's final moments and found that the plane was unlikely to have conducted a controlled landing, concluding the aircraft experienced "engine flame-outs" and its last satellite communication was due to a power failure. The flame-outs, or engine shutdowns, were caused by loss of fuel.

Warren Truss, Australia's deputy prime minister, said he was "increasingly confident" that the plane was in the current search area. The painstaking underwater hunt, due to be completed by June, has so far examined 29,000 square miles of 46,000 square mile zone.

"There's around 17,000 square miles yet to be searched in this new priority area, and we're optimistic and hopeful that that search will result in us locating the aircraft," Mr Truss said.

The only trace of the plane since it disappeared was a flaperon, part of the wing, which washed up on Reunion Island in July, about 2,500 miles west of the search zone.

Three ships have been conducting the search and a fourth Chinese vessel is due to join in the coming months. The search has cost about €125m.

Irish Independent

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