On a day when the future of the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 appeared in doubt, a new computer analysis of ocean drift patterns, tracing the possible paths of debris from the Boeing 777-200 found off the coast of southeastern Africa, shows that the entire search effort may have been wasted — because the area where searchers are combing the ocean floor is not where the plane went down.
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 suddenly cut off communications and vanished on March 8, 2014, as the plane flew en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Based on satellite data, authorities concluded that the plane made an unexplained seven-hour detour, flying west until the flight ended in the Indian Ocean in an area about 1,200 miles off the coast of Perth, Australia, that authorities from Australia, Malaysia, and China — who are cooperating in the search effort — dubbed “The Seventh Arc.”
— AIRLIVE (@airlivenet) June 25, 2016
On Friday, Malaysia Transportation Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said that the search effort in that area of about 120,000 square kilometers or more than 46,000 square miles — an area nearly the size of the country of England — would continue, but that officials from the three countries in charge of the search would meet on July 19 to assess the future of the Flight MH370 search effort.
“We will not call off for the search. We are committed to complete the 120,000 square kilometer search,” Liow said. “So far, we have completed 107,000 square kilometers. We will make an announcement on the way forward.”
But the newest computer analysis by statistician and independent Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 researcher Brock McEwen appears to show that the plane is nowhere near that 46,000 square mile area.
Watch Liow discuss the future of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 search in the video below.
But the new McEwen study examined ocean drift patterns of debris in the Indian Ocean to trace the origin of the 13 pieces of known and suspected MH370 debris that have been located so far — all of them found by tourists and other private citizens not connected with the official search effort — and found that while all 13 pieces could have originated from numerous locations in the Indian Ocean, none of those possible crash sites overlapped with the current official search area.
The Australian, Malaysian, and Chinese search team has been conducting a painstaking search at a cost of more than $100 million — in an area where wreckage of the plane simply is not present.
The 13 debris pieces were all found in the same general region in the western Indian Ocean, on Reunion Island, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, South Africa, and just last week, Tanzania.
Read the entire Brock McEwen Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 drift analysis by clicking on this link.
“Brock’s new paper supports the conclusion of his earlier work on the subject, and also parallels the findings of GEOMAR and Météo France,” wrote journalist Jeff Wise, who has covered the MH370 mystery from the beginning. “Namely, that reverse drift analysis suggests that the debris did not originate within the current search zone.”
— Rappler (@rapplerdotcom) June 24, 2016
GEOMAR is a German research organization which also conducted an analysis of ocean drift patterns and the Flight MH370 debris, finding that the likely location of the missing plane lies hundreds of miles north of the official search area. The Météo France also raised questions about the origin site of the debris, specifically the piece of wing known as a “flaperon” found on French-owned Reunion Island last July.
A summary of the French study by Wise can be read at this link.
“Data suggests many locations can explain all debris but none are anywhere near the search box,” wrote McEwen in the executive summary of his new report. “The best are nowhere near Inmarsat’s “Seventh Arc”
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Inmarsat is the British satellite firm whose data was used to determine that Flight MH370 flew all the way to the Indian Ocean and went down in the “Seventh Arc.”
McEwen concludes in his new analysis that Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 most likely ended its doomed flight “nearer the equator,” which would be far north of the Seventh Arc area, possibly off the coast of Indonesia.
[Featured Photo By Greg Wood / Getty Images]