For those who believe that Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 crashed somewhere on March 8, 2014, this news is for you. The search for the plane, which was called off in January 2017 after an extensive investigation which cost at least $180 million, may be resumed after new modeling using debris, current patterns and secret and previously unreleased data may have narrowed down the search area considerably. How small is the area now?
“We think we know quite precisely where the plane is”.
Dr. David Griffin of Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) made that bold statement at national marine conference in Darwin this week. “Precisely” means at latitude 39 to 36 degrees south along what is referred to as the “seventh arc.” This 15,500 mile (25,000 km) area was searched in December 2016 but the new data models are expected to help refine a new search.
The data starts with the exact location and time a flaperon from the Boeing 777 washed up on Reunion Island and another piece of debris showed up in Tanzania. Satellite imaging of those locations shows ocean currents in the area since the crash. Throw in calculations of the depth of the sea level “down to the centimeter” on a high-resolution map of the sea floor and Dr. Griffin was able to make this statement at the conference:
“There's a strong current crossing across the seventh arc at [latitude] 35 degrees south, so we think the plane crashed into that current going to the north-west. That explains why debris didn't arrive in Australia.”
The debris from Tanzania, an outer flap, also revealed data on how the plane may have gone down and who, if anyone, was flying it. It was not deployed, which indicates the pilot was most likely not in control and the plane hit the water hard. That information will also help searchers pinpoint where on the seventh arc the plan should be found.
Will it be found? That depends as much on politics and money as it does on information.
“Considering that the newly available data generally support the conclusions of the official investigators, it remains a mystery as to why Malaysia withheld the data for so long and why it chose to release the data at this time.”
Victor Iannello of the Independent Group, a team of aviation and mathematical experts, is puzzled why the data was kept secret, especially since it indicates that the Boeing 777 crashed after a sharp spiral dive and no one -- not a pilot nor hijacker nor terrorist -- was in control.
CSIRO, the Independent Group, families of the passengers, and the rest of the world is waiting for those in charge to determine if this is enough evidence to reopen and fund the search.
Is it? What else is being kept secret? Will the wreckage be found or will the conspiracy theories continue to live on?