Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 disappeared on March 8, 2014, setting off what has turned out to be the most baffling mystery in aviation history — a Boeing 777 carrying 226 passengers and 12 crew members on a routine redeye flight from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing, China, cut off all communications with the ground and simply vanished.
Now, three years later — and nearly three months after the official, Australian-led search team gave up looking for the missing plane — a team of researchers in Australia say that they have found what they call “concrete evidence” that rivals exactly where Flight MH370 went down, and now lies at the bottom of the sea in a remote region of the Indian Ocean.
Using “ping” data from a British satellite firm known as Inmarsat, the official search team concluded that the plane had inexplicably made a sharp westerly turn from its planned route and flew for more than seven hours until it either crashed or was deliberately ditched somewhere in a 46,000-square-mile area of the Indian Ocean about 1,200 miles off the coast of Perth, Australia.
But ever since a large piece of wing debris, known as a flaperon, was discovered on Reunion Island near the coast of southeastern Africa in July of 2015, independent experts have insisted that the official search was being conducted in the wrong place — well south of where the plane was most likely to be located, based on draft patterns in the ocean that would have brought the flaperon to the French-owned island.
So far, 22 pieces of debris either confirmed to be from Flight MH370, or believed to have been part of the missing plane, have been discovered — all of them either by accident or by independent citizen searchers not affiliated with Australian Transportation Safety Board, which ran the official search effort.
The following video from the Malaysian newspaper The Star Online offers updates on the status of the search three years after the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370
On Wednesday, researchers at the University of Western Australia announced that they have, they say, pinpointed the precise location where the plane now rests. Their findings are also based on drift models of Indian Ocean currents — and they place the plane in north of the 46,000-square-mile official search area, a search area that yielded no results.
The UWA research team says that their model has correctly predicted the locations of 18 pieces of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 debris, of the 22 found so far.
“As soon as the flaperon (part of the aircraft’s wing) was found, we were saying it was unlikely that the plane went down in the search area at that time,” UWA oceanographer Charity Pattiaratchi told the Australian New Daily news site.
“As soon as the flaperon was found, we were saying it was unlikely that the plane went down in the search area at that time. The ATSB did not take into account the debris that was found. And despite the flaperon being found in July 2015, it took them until November 2016 – almost 18 months – for them to acknowledge [Flight MH370] is not where they were searching.”
Without finding the plane’s “black box” flight recorders or larger debris fragments from the plane, investigators say that they remain in the dark about what actually happened to cause the bizarre disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, taking it thousands of miles and seven hours off of its planned course.
But a lawsuit filed in the United States this week — against Boeing, manufacturer of the missing plane, by representatives of some victims’ families — says that a series of technical malfunctions starting with a raging electrical fire on board the plane most likely caused the mysterious disappearance.
To read previous Inquisitr coverage of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 mystery, click on the links in the box below.
Dramatic Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 Debris Find: Plane Crashed Violently, Not Under Pilot Control, Experts Say
Flight MH370: Report Says 50 New Debris Pieces Found In South Africa, But Official Search To End Empty-Handed
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Sightings Over Maldives May Be Real, Blaine Gibson Says As His Debris Hunt Continues
Wing Flap Found In Tanzania May Hold Key To Mystery Of Missing Plane’s Fate
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Third Study Now Shows Plane Lies North Of Official Search Area
New Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 Evidence: Pilot Suicide Again Emerges As Likely Cause Of Plane’s Disappearance
New Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 Analysis: Searchers Looking In Wrong Place For Missing Plane, Study Shows
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Plane Crashed Far North Of Current $100 Million Search Site, New Expert Says
Watch ’60 Minutes’ Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 Story Stream Online: Cover-Up Of ‘Rogue Pilot’ Taking Plane, Program Charges
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Plane Debris ‘Planted’ Deliberately, Expert Says — But Who Did It And Why?
[Featured Image by Anthony Kwan/Getty Images]