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Debris analysis of MH370: controlled ditching not likely
2 November 2016
Inboard section of outboard flap of MH370 (ATSB)

Inboard section of outboard flap of MH370 (ATSB)

The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 missing since March 2014, MH370, likely came down at an increasing rate of descent and without deployment of flaps according to analysis published by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB).

The ATSB report provides an update to the MH370 search area definition. An analysis was made of the burst frequency offsets associated with the final satellite communications to and from the aircraft. These results were consistent with the aircraft being in a high and increasing rate of descent at that time. Additionally, the wing flap debris analysis “reduced the likelihood of end-of-flight scenarios involving flap deployment,” according to the ATSB. Thus, a scenario where a controlled ditching was carried out seems unlikely.

To assist with the underwater search for the aircraft, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) undertook an analysis of existing ocean drifting and currents data. Preliminary results of the drift analysis indicated it was unlikely that debris originated from south of the current search area. The northernmost simulated regions were also found to be less likely. Drift analysis work is ongoing and is expected to refine these results.

The report also stated that currently, more than 20 items of debris are under investigation. The items have been located along the east and south coast of Africa, the east coast of Madagascar and the Islands of Mauritius, Reunion and Rodrigues in the Indian Ocean. A list of items recovered was published by the Malaysian investigation team (PDF).