Experts believe they have finally cracked one of the greatest aviation mysteries of all time. Here’s why.
A British aerospace engineer claims to have cracked one of the greatest aviation mysteries of all time: the final resting place of missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370.
Richard Godfrey, a founding member of the non-government MH370 independent Group, on Wednesday said he was very confident new mapping technology had pinpointed the passenger plane’s crash site 2000km west of Perth in the southern Indian Ocean.
MH370 went missing on March 8 2014 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, with six Australians among the 239 people on board.
The disappearance nearly eight years ago kicked off one of the most extensive aviation searches in history and has generated a range of theories as to where it ended up, and what happened on board.
New, publicly available technology may have provided an answer.
Using software based on ‘weak signal propagation’ data, Mr Godfrey’s new report says the craft should be resting about 4km under the sea in a mountainous region of the southern Indian Ocean that had been missed by previous search attempts.
Taken together with satellite, weather, ocean current, and aeroplane performance data, Mr Godfrey said the new technology should trigger a fresh search.
“(The) data supports an overwhelming case for a renewed search in the prime crash location of 33.177°S 95.300°E,” he said.
“The proposed search area is defined by a circle with a radius of 40 nautical miles centred on the prime crash location.”
Various pieces of MH370 debris have washed up over the years in southern Africa and on islands in the Indian Ocean, with leading theories suggesting the plane crashed in the remote waters west of Australia.
Mr Godfrey told Sunrise his theory that the crash was essentially a terrorist attack carrier out by one of the pilots – a theory that has been rejected by Australian experts.
“It was a hijacking. It was an act of terrorism in my view,” Mr Godfrey said.
“But you know, I‘m not a court of law. And I can only say that that’s my current theory. I’m still open if the authorities want to reveal more information that they may have.”
Three Australian couples were on MH370 when it vanished, including Brisbane residents Rod and Mary Burrows, and Robert and Catherine Lawton.
Gu Naijun and Li Yuan from Sydney were also on board.
The plane took off from Kuala Lumpur shortly after midnight on March 8, 2014, bound for Beijing carrying 12 crew and 227 passengers.
About 85 per cent of those on board were Chinese or Malaysian residents, with others coming from Indonesia, New Zealand, Canada, the US, France, India, Iran, Ukraine, Russia, and the Netherlands.
Not long after takeoff, the plane made an unexplained U-turn, turning westwards from its planned flight path and heading back across the Malay Peninsula and the Malacca Strait.
It eventually left radar range around 370km northwest of Penang Island.
The last recorded transmission came 38 minutes after takeoff while over the South China Sea.
One of the pilots acknowledged an instruction from Vietnamese air traffic control, saying, “Good night Malaysia three-seven-zero.”
Automatic satellite pings continued for seven hours.
These, along with aircraft performance data and sea drift analysis, formed the basis for determining the plane’s likely arc.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau coordinated a $200 million, three-year search operation for MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean after offering assistance to the Malaysian Government shortly after the plane went missing.
The mission scoured more than 120,000sq km of Indian Ocean floor using high-resolution sonar between 2014 to 2017, unfortunately with no luck.
A second search sponsored by the Malaysian government also came up empty.
In its final report, the ATSB identified an area of less than 25,000sq km “which has the highest likelihood of containing MH370”.
The ATSB previously stated that out of the possible scenarios, an unresponsive crew or hypoxia event – where depressurisation causes those on board to lose consciousness – “best fit the available evidence”.