Australia’s chief science agency says it is more confident than ever that it knows the area in which missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 can be found.
The CSIRO said its new report, released on Friday, confirmed that the most likely location of MH370 was a new 25,000 sq km area, north of the original 120,000 sq km search area.
The Boeing 777 disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014 with 239 people on board and is one of the greatest aviation mysteries.
The new area was revealed in December, and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau chief commissioner Greg Hood has described it as “highly likely” that the area identified by experts contains the aircraft.
However , transport ministers from Malaysia, China and Australia were unmoved and suspended the search until “credible new evidence” was found.
They are yet to respond to Friday’s report.
A CSIRO research team led by Dr David Griffin said their latest testing had used a Boeing 777 flaperon – part of a plane’s wing – that was identically damaged to the MH370 flaperon found at La Reunion Island near Africa in July 2015.
The tests involved seeing how the flaperon drifted through the water, whether it went straight downwind, or off at an angle, and at what speed through the water.
Previous tests had involved using inexact replicas, but Dr Griffin said testing an almost identical flaperon “added an extra level of assurance to the findings from our earlier drift modelling work”.
The arrival of MH370’s flaperon at La Reunion now made perfect sense, he said.
“It indicates that the most likely location of MH370 is in the new search area,” Dr Griffin said.
“We cannot be absolutely certain, but that is where all the evidence we have points us, and this new work leaves us more confident in our findings.
“Knowing how the flaperon, and the other parts of MH370 that have been found, respond to wind and waves is just as important as knowing the currents of the Indian Ocean,” he said.