Search team suggests MH370 may have crashed outside current search area

Head of an engineering team involved in the search says the plane "could glide for a long way" if it was manned

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Image: Vincent Thian / AP/Press Association Images

An oceanographer who helped find debris from missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 says it could have crashed north of the current search area.

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

There were 239 passengers and crew aboard the flight.

Aviation experts believe MH370 veered sharply off course to the far-southern Indian Ocean before crashing into the sea.

The current search area, off the coast of western Australia, is around 120,000 square kilometers - and no evidence of a crash site has yet been found.

Speaking to Reuters, Paul Kennedy, the project director of engineering group Fugro, said: "If it's not there, it means it's somewhere else".

While it is possible that some 'extreme' factors have made it impossible to locate the plane within the existing search area, Mr Kennedy also told Reuters that there are other potential explanations.

"If it was manned [the plane] could glide for a long way," he suggested.

"You could glide it for further than our search area is, so I believe the logical conclusion will be well maybe that is the other scenario."

Officials from Malaysia, China and Australia will meet in Kuala Lumpur on Friday to discuss the future of the search - having agreed in 2015 that the search area would not be expanded if no further evidence was found.

Earlier this week, it was reported that debris and personal effects believed to be from a plane has been handed over to Malaysian authorities for analysis.

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