PETALING JAYA: The Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) has claimed its scientists know “precisely” where the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 aircraft is in the Indian Ocean.
In an article carried on its website, CSIRO said it used applied oceanography to pinpoint to a particular stretch of the Indian Ocean the likely crash site of the doomed Boeing 777-200ER plane.
The Australian research team reduced the size of the possible wreckage site by modelling ocean drift, calculating sea level at the time of the crash down to a centimetre, and observing where debris had and had not washed up.
“We think we know quite precisely where the plane is,” David Griffin from the CSIRO told a conference in Darwin, Australia, earlier this week.
MH370 disappeared with 227 passengers and 12 crew on board sometime after midnight on March 8, 2014, after leaving Kuala Lumpur for Beijing.
The search by a multinational fleet of ships and aircraft was abandoned on Jan 17 this year without finding the main body of the plane or any bodies.
A total of 27 pieces of debris had been discovered washed up on the shores bordering the Indian Ocean.
The cause of the crash has remained a mystery.
However, research on the possible crash site has continued in Australian laboratories.
In December last year, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) recommended the search be moved north to a 25,000 sq km stretch of the Indian Ocean.
This was focused on an area off Western Australia, at between latitude 32 to 36 degrees south.
The CSIRO has since narrowed that down to 35 degrees south, an area a fraction of the size of the original 120,000 sq km search region.
The CSIRO said scientists had looked at what the ocean currents were doing on the day of the crash and matched them with where debris had and had not appeared.
“No debris washed up on the West Australian coast, meaning the current must have been flowing away from Australia at the time.
“That uniquely explains the non-arrival of debris on Australian shores,” Griffin told The New Daily.
The CSIRO said researchers even built replicas of plane parts, put them in the water and measured how quickly they moved. They used an actual flaperon cut down to the same size as that from the MH370.
“Knowing how the flaperon, and the other parts of MH370 that have been found, respond to wind and waves is just as important as knowing the currents of the Indian Ocean,” Griffin said in a report in April.
Charitha Pattiaratchi, a professor of coastal oceanography at the University of Western Australia, said a new search was feasible but that he did not believe the political will was there.
He said it was up to the Malaysian government to decide whether or not to begin a new search.
An ATSB spokesperson said Malaysia, as the state of registry for the aircraft, retained overall authority for any future search.