Experts identify unsearched area with 'highest probability' of containing MH370 wreckage

A new report suggests that the current search area is unlikely to contain the missing aircraft

Experts identify unsearched area with 'highest probability' of containing MH370 wreckage

Image: Australian Transport Safety Bureau

Australian officials have said the wreckage of MH370 is 'unlikely' to be located in the current search area, and have identified another ocean area with the 'highest probability' of containing the plane's wreckage.

The report was released by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) today, accompanied by a 'supporting report' from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).

Australia has been leading the search effort in the Indian Ocean since the disappearance of the Malaysian Airlines flight in March 2014.

In a statement released today, the ATSB said: "Given the high confidence in the search undertaken to date [...] experts agreed that the previously defined indicative underwater area is unlikely to contain the missing aircraft. 

"The experts also agreed that CSIRO's debris drift modelling results present strong evidence that the aircraft is most likely to be located to the north of the current indicative underwater search area.

"When considered together with updated flight path modelling, the experts concluded that an unsearched area [...] of approximately 25,000 km², has the highest probability of containing the wreckage of the aircraft."

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.

It was announced earlier this year that the search will be suspended if the plane is not found within the current 120,000 km² 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.

The search of the current area is expected to be completed in January, following delays caused by bad weather in the region.

The Fugro Equator search vessel departed Australia last week for its 'final swing' of the area.