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Experts: MH370 likely crashed further south

Malaysiakini  |  Published:  |  Modified:

MH370 A group claiming to be independent experts said the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) should be searching further south in the Indian Ocean for missing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370.

 

It said based on its extensive analysis, the aircraft is most likely to have crashed some 2,554km southwest of Perth.

 

“Our ‘most probable’ end point is located at 37.71°S 88.75°E ... further to the south than any of the currently announced potential search areas,” said the group of experts dubbing itself the Independent Group.

 

In a report released last week, it urged the ATSB and relevant bodies to release more data to the public so as to help its analysis.

 

The location is some 900km southwest from the priority search area, and about 500km southwest from the medium search area defined by the ATSB on June 26.

 

However, it still falls within its wide search area.

 

The same area was covered by air and ships on March 19, 12 days after MH370 went missing and the second day Australia started searching the southern Indian Ocean.

 

However, the ATSB had announced in its weekly updates that the multinational Search Strategy Working Group has also refined its analysis.

 

This means the priority search area is expected to shift further south as a result.

 

The Search Strategy Working Group is a group of industry experts advising ATSB on potential search areas, and has been working since April to estimate where MH370 may have crashed.

 

Parallel effort

 

The Independent Group is a parallel effort to help find MH370 using publically available data. Its eight-page report names 13 persons as among its volunteer contributors, while other contributors chose anonymity.

 

These include satellite communications consultant Tim Farrar, astronomer Duncan Steel, and science writer Jeffery Wise.

 

Fight MH370 went missing en route Beijing from Kuala Lumpur on March 8, with 239 people on board.

 

The aircraft mysteriously diverted and is believed to have crashed into the South Indian Ocean.

 

A bathymetric survey of the search area is currently conducted by two vessels, while Malaysian and Australian funded search vessel GO Phoenix is expected to arrive on Oct 1 to begin a renewed underwater search effort.

 

Another vessel, the Fugro Discovery , is due to arrive in Fremantle, near Perth, on the following day for final preparations before also joining the search.

 

Engines didn’t die simultaneously

 

According to the Independent Group, MH370’s twin engines are believed to have ran out of fuel one after another instead of simultaneously, possibility minutes apart. This forces the aircraft into a spiral dive towards the ocean.

 

It said based on its analysis of the aircraft’s final transmissions, widely reported as the ‘seventh ping’, the aircraft was falling at some 287km per hour in its final moments, with a spiral no more than one nautical mile (1,852 metres) in radius.

“The occurrence of a near-vertical spiral dive has significant implications in reducing the width of the target search area…

 

“We argue that the aircraft could not have flown far beyond the seventh arc before crashing into the ocean, if it went beyond that arc at all,” it said.

 

The seventh arc is arc-shaped area within which the aircraft is believed to be located when it made its seventh ping, based on the distance between it and an Inmarsat communications satellite.

 

In order to help further its analysis, the Independent Group urged the relevant parties to release information on six items, which it claims to have tried to request for through official channels.

 

These include the complete data log from the Inmarsat satellite and the satellite’s characteristics, engine data, and the aircraft’s location as tracked by radar, and reported by the aircraft’s systems prior to cutting communications.

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