Teams searching for missing aircraft Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 have been looking in the wrong place, a new Australian government report confirmed.
“Given the high confidence in the search undertaken to date, the experts agreed that the previously defined (search) area is unlikely to contain the missing aircraft,” a spokesman for the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) said in a statement.
The ATSB’s report, released on Tuesday, is the result of a “First Principles Review” meeting which took place in Canberra, Australia, between 2 to 4 November.
It said there was a more than 95% likelihood the plane was not in the current search area.
According to the report, all participants in November meeting agreed a new area to the northeast of the current search area should be searched, approximately 25,000 square kilometers, based on new analysis.
“Based on the analysis to date, completion of this area would exhaust all prospective areas for the presence of MH370,” the report said.
The ATSB has been contacted for comment on whether the search will now be extended.
More than 20 pieces of debris found
It has been almost three years since Malaysian Airlines 370 vanished during a routine flight from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing, China, in March 2014.
Although many questions remain around its disappearance, its final fate has been more or less confirmed — new satellite analysis in November described how MH370 was spiraling fast towards the sea in its final moments.
Since 2014, more than 20 pieces of debris which are likely or confirmed to come from the plane have been found, mostly on African beaches and islands.
The search for MH370 was originally due to finish in January or February, after 120,000 square kilometers had been searched.
But the families of the plane’s passengers have called for the investigation to continue, with some traveling to Madagascar and Mauritius to encourage locals to search for debris.