World Bulletin / News Desk
Experts have determined that wreckage from Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 could possibly be found north of an area where international crews have been searching for more than two years, according to a report released Tuesday.
“There is a high degree of confidence that the previously identified underwater area searched to date does not contain the missing aircraft,” says the report by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), which coordinates the search for the plane that vanished in 2014.
It adds that the experts identified an area of around 25,000 square kilometers (9,653 square miles) north of the current search area as having “the highest probability of containing the wreckage of the aircraft”.
“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,” the report says.
An ATSB report released earlier this year said that authorities from Malaysia, Australia and China revealed that the hunt is now predicted to continue into 2017 as the search of 120,000 square kilometers of the southern Indian Ocean continues to be hampered by bad weather.
The hunt was originally intended to be completed by mid-2016, but a search of the remaining less than 10,000 sq km of the area will now be completed "around January/February 2017".
Flight MH370, carrying 239 passengers and crew, disappeared from radar shortly after taking off from Kuala Lumpur enroute to Beijing on March 8, 2014.
The jetliner has yet to be found despite massive search operations in the southern Indian Ocean where the aircraft was believed to have ended its flight after diverting from its original route.
To-date, at least six pieces of aircraft debris found along Africa’s east coast have been confirmed as “almost certainly” coming from MH370.
After 10 months of intensive undersea search for the vanished flight, on Jan. 29, 2015 Malaysia declared that MH370 was lost in an accident, killing all passengers.
On July 29 last year, a piece of aircraft debris was found washed ashore on the French island, east of Madagascar. The debris -- believed to be from a Boeing 777 -- was sent to Toulouse, France, for analysis the following day.
Days after, Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak announced that the flaperon was from MH370, and that the flight indeed ended in the Indian Ocean.