Malaysia Airlines flight MH370: UK engineer suggests new crash site

Possible site is in southern Indian Ocean 2,000km west of Perth, Western Australia

A shadow shows a person hanging a message during an event ‘Love U MH370’ in Kuala Lumpur. EPA
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A British aeronautical engineer has suggested a new possible crash site to help find Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

The fate of the plane, which disappeared carrying 239 passengers and crew on March 8, 2014, is one of the biggest mysteries in the history of aviation.

Richard Godfrey, a founding member of the MH370 Independent Group, has a background in aircraft landing systems and autopilots and believes the new search area is a circle radius of just 40 nautical miles — far smaller than previous search sites.

He says the Boeing 777 crashed into the southern Indian Ocean 2,000 kilometres west of Perth, Western Australia. The suggested site is around 33 degrees south and 95 degrees east.

“An area as large as a 120,000 square kilometres has been searched and that's not looking for a needle in a haystack — that's looking for something microscopic in a haystack. It's very difficult to do.

“The wreckage could be behind a cliff or in a canyon on the ocean floor and you need maybe three or four passes before you start to pick things up.”

He said the wreckage could be up to 4,000m deep.

A Malaysian official, centre, takes pictures of a piece of suspected aircraft debris after it was found by fishermen on January 23, 2016. AFP

The new suggested site has been arrived at by combining data sets in a way not seen before.

Mr Godfrey said it was a “complicated exercise” that brought different areas of expertise together.

“No one had the idea before to combine Inmarsat satellite data with Boeing performance data, with oceanographic floating debris drift data, with WSPR net data,” he said.

“We've done quite a lot of testing of this new idea and we've came to the confidence to apply it to MH370.”

Visitors write messages at a commemoration event to mark the fifth anniversary of the flight's disappearance. Getty Images

There have been two previous searches in the Indian Ocean and it is not immediately clear whether the proposed new site is in one of those areas.

MH370 was last heard of 38 minutes into a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, China, while over the South China Sea.

Debris has been found in the western Indian Ocean, on the island of Mauritius, and near the Tanzania coast.

If successful, “we'll be able to give closure to the next of kin and answers to the flying public and the aviation industry on exactly what happened with MH370 and how we prevent that in the future”, Mr Godfrey said.

Updated: December 06, 2021, 1:51 PM
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