Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 continues to be a source of frustration and pain for the families of missing MH370 passengers and crew. Several months of exhaustive investigation has yet to find a trace of the missing Malaysia Airlines jet, only revealing where MH370 isn’t.
But NBC News reports that investigators looking for MH370 are confident a new area of focus will be established within two weeks, and their hunt for MH370, “will be confirmed before the end of June, after completion of extensive collaborative analysis by a range of specialists,” said Australia’s Joint Agency Coordination Center.
The new search location and confidence stems from an outside group of independent experts, according to CNN. Their conclusions, based on five separate computer models, put the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in a huddled set of spots in the South Indian Ocean, several hundred miles from the previous search areas.
Their recommendation to focus the MH370 search in these spots was announced in a statement, that was approved by 10 named experts, late Tuesday:
“While there remain a number of uncertainties and some disagreements as to the interpretation of aspects of the data, our best estimates of a location of the aircraft (is) near 36.02 South 88.57 East,” said the statement.
The MH370 search team’s impromptu formation came together through two experts, Duncan Steel, from Wellington, New Zealand, and Tim Farrar, from Menlo Park, California. The group didn’t agree with Inmarsat‘s conclusions, that Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 had flown south. Their own conclusion was that the public information available from Malaysia and Inmarsat was insufficient to confirm MH370’s direction, and that the jet could’ve flown north, ultimately concluding its journey along an arc extending from Thailand to Eastern Europe.
According to one member of the independent team, American Mobile Satellite Corp. co-founder Mike Exner, a soon to be released BBC documentary about Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, and announcements from the Australian government regarding continued MH370 search plans, prompted them to make their announcement Tuesday so there would be no doubt about the independence of their findings.
“We wanted to get our best estimate out,” Exner said.
As for MH370’s route, Exner says they believe the jetliner went around Indonesia, then for unknown reasons headed south at approximately 470 knots, most likely maintaining a consistent altitude and direction. Their five computer models then place Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370’s potential final destination points in a “pretty tight cluster…plus or minus 50 miles of each other.”
Tim Farrar, another member of the group posting in a blog, said the new site is “our best estimate… but not the only possible… location.”
For Exner, the “breakthrough piece of information,” was that the satellite terminal on MH370 was programmed to make a simple assumption about the location of the satellite that it was communicating with – that it was “geostationary” – when actually, it drifted north and south.
According to Exner, he believes the previous area of focus for the missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner was zeroing in on the right spot, but was lead astray by the acoustic pings detected northwest of Australia.
“It’s my personal opinion that the official search team weighed too heavily” on the acoustic pings, said Exner.
The once hopeful “pings” were just recently acknowledged by the Australian government as having had nothing to do with Flight MH370’s black boxes or data recorders.
While the group of experts is moving forward and, according to Exner, they’ve volunteered to work with the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, those groups have not been overly forthcoming with new information that could help the group.
Such reluctance to release information regarding Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 is why continued speculation, conspiracy theories and thoughts of government cover-ups abound.
But perhaps this latest group of experts can break through the mystery that is Flight MH370.