Wednesday, August 16, 2017

MH370: New Analysis Spots Objects Near Plane’s Likely Crash Site; Australian authorities urge caution on the discovery as search remains suspended

The Wall Street Journal
By Rob Taylor
Updated Aug. 16, 2017 4:57 a.m. ET

CANBERRA, Australia—An examination of satellite images taken two weeks after Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 vanished suggests a cluster of likely man-made objects were in an area close to where authorities have long thought the plane crashed.

The area where the images were taken wasn’t covered by an aerial search at the time. But it is near where authorities originally spent years scanning miles of remote seabed off Western Australia.

Flight 370 vanished from radar en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur on March 8, 2014, with 239 people on board from more than a dozen countries, including 152 Chinese nationals. That was followed by a search across thousands of square miles of ocean in what became the most expensive in aviation history—about $160 million. The search was called off in January, with the governments of Malaysia, Australia and China saying they wouldn’t resume it without firm new evidence.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau on Wednesday released new analysis of data gathered during the nearly three-year search. That included a study of the images, taken by French satellites on March 23, 2014, before Australian authorities took over the search effort.

Australian officials said the image resolution wasn’t high enough to be certain whether the objects—ranging in size from 2 meters to 12 meters (2.2 yards to 13.1 yards)—were from the missing plane, or were objects found floating in oceans anywhere around the world.

“Clearly we must be cautious,” said Greg Hood, chief commissioner of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau. “These objects have not been definitely identified as MH370 debris.”

The researchers identified 12 objects in the images they thought were probably man-made. The objects were similar in size to debris from the plane that was discovered by happenstance, including a piece thought to be part of the aircraft wing that washed ashore in southeast Africa.

The images were taken by an Airbus Pleiades satellite and made available by France’s military intelligence service. They were probably overlooked earlier because they were heavily affected by ocean reflections, or “glint,” and significant cloud cover, the researchers said.

“The small number of images, and lack of repeat observations over the area, resulted in insufficient data to support a data-driven or computer-learning approach. Hence, a comprehensive, manual, visual survey of each scene was undertaken,” the bureau’s report said.

Australia’s Transport Minister Darren Chester said the latest research, while positive, still didn’t pinpoint the plane’s resting place.

“The search remains suspended and we will consider any new information as it comes to light,” he said. “The fact that we haven’t been able to locate MH370 is something that plays on everybody’s minds.”

Officials said in December they had a high level of confidence any debris hadn’t been overlooked by high-resolution sonar scans of the seabed. But they did identify a prospective second search zone north of the existing area, sprawling over an additional 9,653 square miles—roughly a fifth the area already covered. The latest drift modeling narrowed that to an area of some 1,900 square miles experts considered the most likely—one of the four areas in which objects were identified.

A U.S.-based seabed exploration company, Ocean Infinity, last week offered to undertake a fresh search for Flight 370 in the area. Ocean Infinity said it was hopeful Malaysia would accept its proposal, with the company offering to shoulder the cost of a hunt using subsea drones.

Mr. Chester said a resumption of the search was primarily the responsibility of the Malaysian government as the lead investigator, but that Australia was continuing to assess data and was willing to offer support.

“We’ve always made clear to the Malaysian government that we stand ready to assist with technical expertise. We continue to have that offer on the table,” he said.

Original article can be found here ➤

Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200, 9M-MRO, flight MH-370: Fatal accident occurred March 08, 2014 in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia 

NTSB Identification: DCA14RA076
Scheduled 14 CFR Non-U.S., Commercial
Accident occurred Saturday, March 08, 2014 in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia
Aircraft: BOEING 777 - 206, registration:
Injuries: 239 Fatal.

The foreign authority was the source of this information.

The Malaysian Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) has notified the NTSB of an accident involving a Boeing 777-200 that occurred on March 8, 2014. The NTSB has appointed a U.S. Accredited Representative to assist the Malaysian DCA investigation under the provisions of ICAO Annex 13 as the State of Manufacturer and Design of the airplane.

All investigative information will be released by the Malaysian DCA.


  1. What would have been helpful is if the Malaysian government had been honest from the beginning with what they knew.

  2. Did they try calling it and listening for ringtones? That's what I always do when my wife loses her phone.

  3. Ocean Infinity has offered to search for free. Let them do it. Submarine drones sweeping back and forth looking for anything. So is this altruistic generosity genuine or cover for something else. Mining sonar sounding for oil, gas and other resources; I understand as there is a profit motive. Altruism by a capitalist enterprise is a bit hard to swallow, unless the manifest for the flight contained some very valuable freight. I hope they find it. There would be lots of happy people to see an end to this.

  4. The MH370 case is unsettling because it contains elements atypical of classic air accidents: on-board tracking systems were turned off, and ground radar recorded a confusing flight trajectory. Based on what little we know, it certainly seems like a deliberate act of mass-homicide. But was it a terrorist act, or a suicidal pilot?

    With all due respect to the families of those on-board, the world is desperate to know what actually happened in this case. Even if the aircraft is located, after three or four years important evidence is likely lost to a very harsh ocean environment.

    Bless the innocent lives lost on MH370.

  5. Very informative 2019 article: