THE two-year, multi-million dollar search for missing Flight MH370 may be looking in the wrong place, according to the Dutch company leading the search for the ill-fated plane.
The Malaysia Airlines flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing disappeared in March 2014 with 239 people on board.
The admission came as Western Australia University oceanographer Charitha Pattiaratchi also cast doubts on the accuracy of the search area, saying he believed that the plane crashed north of where it is being conducted.
Engineers at the Dutch group Fugro, which is leading the search, say the plane may have glided rather than dived at the end, which would have taken it out of the current search zone. The theory also raises the possibility that someone was in control of the flight in the moments before it crashed.
“If it was manned it could glide for a long way,” Fugro project director Paul Kennedy told Reuters (via the Guardian). “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.”
The current search, which has covered 120,000 sq kms of the Indian Ocean off Western Australia and cost $137 million, could be called off when officials from Malaysia, China and Australia meet on Friday.
“If it’s not there, it means it’s somewhere else,” Kennedy said.
Meanwhile, Pattiaratchi, the oceanographer who led American adventurer Blaine Gibson to Madagascar where he found a potential debris field from the missing Malaysia Airlines jet says Flight 370 could have crashed north of the current search area.
He said he told Gibson that Flight 370 debris was likely to be concentrated on Madagascar.
“The best guess that we think is that it’s probably around the Broken Ridge region, which is slightly to the north of the area that they’re looking at,” Pattiaratchi said Thursday.
The comment comes two days after Gibson handed Malaysian authorities pieces of debris and personal belongings found on Madagascar beaches in June. He says they could have come from the Boeing 777.
Pattiaratchi had earlier advised Gibson to search in Mozambique, where in February he found debris that experts later determined came from Flight 370.
Officials from Malaysia, China and Australia meet on Friday to discuss the future of the search, which is due to end in three months time.
Additional reporting from Associated Press