Air crash site 'yet to be explored'

The crew on board survey ship HMS Echo helps the underwater search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 (MoD/PA)

The crew on board survey ship HMS Echo helps the underwater search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 (MoD/PA)

First published in National News © by

The most likely crash site of the missing Malaysian Airlines jet has yet to be searched, a UK satellite company has claimed.

A major search for Flight MH370 has been under way since it disappeared with 239 passengers and crew on board after taking off from Kuala Lumpur bound for Beijing on March 8.

Hourly electronic connections received by telecommunications experts Inmarsat revealed that the Boeing 777 airliner had to have come down in the southern Indian Ocean.

Scientists from the company told the BBC's Horizon programme they had calculated the plane's most likely flight path to a "hotspot" on the ocean floor.

But an Australian search vessel, the Ocean Shield, never reached the site because it picked up other signals some distance away, thought to be from the plane's flight recorders.

These "pings" were investigated for two months during a search of 850 sq km (328 sq m) of sea bed north west of Perth in Australia, but the source was not found.

Chris Ashton, from Inmarsat, told Horizon: "It was by no means an unrealistic location but it was further to the north east than our area of highest probability."

The company modelled a series of arcs across the Indian Ocean based on a likely speed and heading if the plane was flown on autopilot, and found a path that lined up with data gathered from where its systems made contact with the jet.

Mr Ashton said: "We can identify a path that matches exactly with all those frequency measurements and with the timing measurements and lands on the final arc at a particular location, which then gives us a sort of a hotspot area on the final arc where we believe the most likely area is."

A number of c ountries are continuing to negotiate on how to fund the next phase search, which will cover almost 56,000 sq km (21,600 square miles) of seabed beneath water up to 7km (4.3 miles) deep.

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