New MH370 search areas pinpointed
A group of leading search experts for the doomed MH370 aircraft have revealed new areas that should be investigated.
In a new paper titled Search Recommendation for MH370's Debris Field, scientists Victor Iannello, Bobby Ulich, Richard Godfrey and Andrew Banks have identified three potential search areas, representing three different scenarios.
The search area given the "highest priority" assumes there was no pilot input after fuel was exhausted.
The search area of next highest priority assumes there was a glide towards the south after fuel exhaustion.
And the lowest priority area is where they believe the aircraft could be found if there was a controlled glide in an arbitrary direction.
"All possible MH370 end points of flight routes in any navigation mode and any speed mode have already been searched," the authors of the paper wrote.
"This means that MH370 has either been missed in a previous search or recovered from a steep descent … and glided out to an end point outside the previously searched area."
MH370 theorists have previously suggested the jet might have glided down on to the surface of the ocean while controlled by "suicidal" pilot Captain Zaharie at the helm.
The aircraft vanished on March 8, 2014 with 239 passengers and crew on board, flying from the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
The aircraft's final resting place has never been uncovered, even after a four-year, $200 million search over a more than 120,000 square kilometre area, which ended in 2018.
Shortly after the Boeing 777 took off, its radar transponders and communications systems were all shut down. It meant that, once out of ground-based radar range, nobody could "see" where the aircraft was.
But whoever tried to make the aircraft invisible overlooked one thing: engine monitoring sensors that would automatically report to overhead satellites.
Searchers used these signals, along with inferred flight speeds and courses, to mark out a broad patch of the Southern Ocean far to the southwest of Perth as the most likely place MH370 went down.
In the new paper, the scientists said there was only one region of interest where they recommended a further analysis and search at around 34.4 °S near the 7th Arc.
Their research comes as a Sky News two-part documentary to air on February 19 and 20 is set to unravel previous searches and reveal the clues that were missed that could now lead to resolution.
Malaysia has said it needs new evidence before starting a new search.
US-based search company Ocean Infinity has said that it will search on a "no find no fee basis" again.
Despite suggestions a new search is set to be launched this year, the Malaysian government has quashed such talk.
The Malaysian Transport Ministry said no decision on a new search had been made and it would need to consult with Australia and China before one was made.
"While the Transport Ministry deeply empathises with the family members of the victims and stands by them, the Ministry has not made any decision to relaunch any new searches as there has not been any new credible evidence to initiate such a process," a statement from the ministry said.
"However, the ministry will review any information that it officially receives."
Ocean Infinity chief executive Oliver Plunkett said no new search is imminent and that the Malaysians had rightly set a high bar before they would discuss one.
"As an organisation, we have heavily invested emotionally, as well as financially, in the search, as indeed have many others and consequently there hasn't been a day since we concluded our search in 2018, that the possibility of a renewed search hasn't come up in one form or another," he said.
"To that end, while no new search is imminent, we continue to actively engage with a number of subject experts to identify where any new search might be focused.
"It was and remains our position that we hope to be able to offer our services to the Malaysian Government again at some point in the future."
Families of missing plane's victims have quietly pushed for a new search, hoping for some answers in the mystery of what happened to their loved ones.
Other investigators have come up with other locations to search in, with an engineer at a top Danish university claiming the crash site is off Christmas Island, south of Jakarta.