MH370 experts attempting to 'define new search area'

Officials have said the search will be suspended if the plane is not found within the current search area

MH370 experts attempting to 'define new search area'

Wing Commander Rob Shearer, captain of the Royal New Zealand Air Force P3 Orion, left, and Sgt. Sean Donaldson look out the cockpit windows during search operations for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. Image: Nick Perry / AP/Press Association Images

Experts working on the search for the missing MH370 plane are reportedly attempting to define a new search area.

Associated Press reports that while officials are attempting to plan the next phase of the search in the Indian Ocean, it would be dependent on securing further funding from the Malaysian, Chinese and Australian authorities. 

Greg Hood, head of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, said: "If it is not in the area which we defined, it's going to be somewhere else in the near vicinity."

Mr Hood added that scientists will attempt to determine how a wing fragment that has been found may have drifted towards land.

Last month, officials from the three countries involved in the search acknowledged that "despite the best efforts of all involved, the likelihood of finding the aircraft is fading".

It was announced that the search will be suspended if the plane is not found within the current 120,000 square kilometre search area off the coast of western Australia.

However, the Australian, Malaysian and Chinese ministers stressed that the suspension would not mean the "termination of the search", and further plans will be considered if "credible new information" about the plane's location emerges.

Earlier in July, an oceanographer who helped find debris from the plane said it could have crashed north of the current search area.

Separately, one of the world's leading air crash investigators said he believes the plane was deliberately flown into the sea.

MH370 went missing on 8th March 2014, while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

There were 239 passengers and crew aboard the flight.

Pieces of debris found in South Africa and Mauritius were confirmed as being from MH370 in May.

However, no evidence of a crash site has yet been found.