Examination of a key piece of wreckage from the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has cast doubt over theories that someone was in control of the aircraft when it entered the ocean. Photo: Associated Press
A NEW report has claimed that in the final days of searching for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, a search vessel has moved at high speed to a new location.
The Daily Beastreports that the Dutch-owned search vessel Fugro Equator moved more than 321 kilometres north to an area experts have recently identified as likely to contain the remains of the Boeing 777.
Dr Richard Cole, from the University College in London, has claimed to have detected the change in mission in his own satellite tracking. He has been following the search operation closely.
The Fugro Equator was making its final sweeps in that area when it was suddenly diverted north.
It comes after the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), which has been leading the search mission, said in a report last month that the jet is almost certainly not in the current search zone and may be further north.
It is understood that the crash site might be between latitudes 32 to 36 degrees south. The Equator is now operating close to latitude 32 degrees south, The Daily Beast reports.
Dr Cole told The Daily Beast: “Equator has re-entered the search to the north, away from the area originally identified in late 2014 by the Australian Defense Science and Technology Group. Using a sonar system, it is now checking sea floor not previously scanned. The search has only limited time left, but they are investing this remaining time in scanning the area they now believe is the most likely location of MH370.”
The search for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane MH370, that went missing in 2014, is set to conclude within two weeks, Malaysia’s transport minister has confirmed.
Liow Tiong Sai said and countries involved in the search — Australia, Malaysia and China — must decide whether to continue the operation in other areas. He said the decision of whether or not to extend the search beyond the 120,000 square kilometre area of the Indian Ocean covered till now, will be taken before the end of January.
“We are in the final lap. The search will be completed in the next two weeks, then after that we will let people know,” Liow told reporters in Kuala Lumpur, reported The Star.
On December 30 last year, the team of experts behind the combing operations recommended expanding the search area and continue the search in other areas of the Ocean, where the ill-fated Boeing 777 is believed to have crashed. The Beijing-bound MH370 had disappeared on March 8, 2014, just 40 minutes after taking off from Kuala Lumpur, with 239 people on board, allegedly after someone turned off its communication systems.
So far, debris from the aircraft have been recovered from beaches in Reunion Island, Mozambique, Mauritius, South Africa and the French Island of Rodrigues.
A French background check of passengers and crew aboard MH370 has also found no cause for suspicion, concurring sources told AFP.
France has opened its own investigation into the disappearance because four French nationals were among the 227 passengers and 12 crew aboard the flight.
The investigators and three examining magistrates met with relatives of the four to brief them on progress.
The relatives were told that background checks on passengers and crew by France’s domestic intelligence agency, the DGSI, “turned up negative,” according to sources close to the inquiry.
Ghyslain Wattrelos, whose wife and two of his children were on-board, confirmed this account.
“They told us that the search didn’t turn up anything,” he told AFP. Questions about passenger and crew background emerged when the Malaysian authorities said two Iranian passengers on the flight had been Travelling on stolen passports.
But Interpol said they were most probably migrants trying to reach Europe. A French specialist also provided the final version of an interim report that had been drawn up in September, “but it didn’t say anything that was much new,” Wattrelos’ lawyer, Marie Dose, said.
She praised the examining magistrates for their “remarkable” work. MH370 disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014. It is believed that the Boeing 777 crashed into the Indian Ocean, but an extensive deep-sea hunt off Australia’s west coast has failed to find a single piece of debris.