The latest report from the Australian Transport Safety Board (ATSB) confirms that search efforts in the 120,000km2 high-priority underwater search area have failed to identify wreckage from MH370 — the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER that disappeared while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on 7th March 2014. Australia is managing the search on behalf of Malaysia and China.
The new report documents the proceedings and outcomes of the First Principles Review meeting on the search for MH370 held in Canberra from 2nd to 4th November. The purpose of the meeting was to reassess and validate existing evidence and to identify any new analysis that may assist in identifying the location of the missing aircraft.
The experts attending the meeting considered:
• the results of the search to date;
• satellite communication metadata and its analysis including methodology, assumptions, limitations, the probability distributions of possible flight paths, and validation results;
• results from simulations and the aircraft manufacturer’s analysis of aircraft performance;
• the width of the search area based on what is known about the end of the flight;
• hydro-acoustic analysis potentially relevant to the search;
• failure analysis of recovered debris;
• drift analysis of aircraft debris.
The meeting confirmed that there is “a high degree of confidence” that the previously identified underwater area searched to date does not contain the missing aircraft. Given the elimination of this area, the experts identified an area of approximately 25,000 km² as the area with the highest probability of containing the wreckage of the aircraft.
The proposed area is located further northeast along the 7th arc — the arc of possible aircraft positions, equidistant from Inmarsat’s Indian Ocean Region satellite, where the accident aircraft made the final series of satellite communications transmissions.
The experts concluded that, if this area were to be searched, prospective areas for locating the aircraft wreckage, based on all the analysis to date, would be exhausted.