MH370 search team says wreckage could be out of current search zone | News | DW | 20.12.2016
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MH370 search team says wreckage could be out of current search zone

Investigators searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 have concluded the aircraft is probably north of the current search zone. Suspected debris has washed up on beaches around the Indian Ocean.

The international team looking into finding the missing MH370 airliner has concluded there is little chance the plane is in the current search area.

"There is a high degree of confidence that the previously identified underwater area searched to date does not contain the missing aircraft," said a statement released Tuesday by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), which is leading the search.

A zone north of the current search area of approximately 25,000 square kilometers (9,600 square miles) has been identified as the location with the "highest probability" of containing the remains of the missing plane.

The newly identified search zone includes an area that was investigated early on, but crews did not examine the area thoroughly enough to rule it out.

"The experts concluded that, if this area were to be searched, prospective areas for locating the aircraft wreckage, based on all the analysis to date, would be exhausted," read the statement. 

The current investigation includes an underwater search of approximately 120,000 square kilometers in the Indian Ocean. The final 10,000 square kilometers in that area will be searched by January, depending on weather conditions.

Missing for nearly 3 years

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 went missing on March 8, 2014 during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board.

Suspected debris from the plane has washed up on beaches around the Indian Ocean. Malaysia, China and Australia have agreed to end the search if no credible new evidence of the aircraft's location is found.

The Australian government, however, has rejected the new search area over a lack of "credible evidence."

"The report does not give a specific location for the missing aircraft and so we need credible evidence that identifies the specific location of the aircraft to extend the search," a spokeswoman for Australian Transport Minister Darren Chester told Reuters.

kbd/cmk (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)