Sydney: The drawn-out search for missing Malaysian plane will revert to an area in the Indian Ocean hundreds of kilometeres south of the previously suspected crash site following new analysis of the plane`s flight path.
Investigators grappling to solve the mystery of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370`s disappearance are set to scour a zone previously subject to an aerial search when an underwater probe resumes in August, the West Australian newspaper said.
The newspaper said Australia`s Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) would soon announce that the hunt would move 500 miles (804 kms) south-west from where it was previously focused.
Martin Dolan, chief commissioner of the Australian Transportation Safety Bureau, said an announcement would be made next week on the focus of a 23,000 square mile (60,000 sq km) search of the ocean floor for wreckage using powerful sonar equipment.
Dolan said he expected the probable crash site would be hundreds of kilometres south of where a remote-controlled underwater drone scoured 330 square miles of seabed in the first fruitless search that ended in May.
That search area was defined by acoustic signals suspected to have come from the missing plane`s black boxes, which promised to be the best clue to finding the plane. But those signals are now thought to have been from another source, possibly the search vessels themselves.
The new search area will not be based on new data, but on refined analysis of existing satellite information from the doomed Boeing 777-200 after it veered off course during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
"All the trends of this analysis will move the search area south of where it was," Dolan said. "Just how much south is something that we`re still working on.
"There was a very complex analysis and there were several different ways of looking at it. Specialists have used several different methodologies and bringing all of that work together to get a consensus view is what we`re finalising at the moment."
A massive aerial and underwater search for MH370, which suddenly disappeared from radar screens on March 8 with 239 people, including five Indians has failed to find any clue.
JACC also that the revised search zone, based on an intensive study of satellite communications from the jet and other data, would be announced by the end of the month.
Australian officials have said repeatedly that the revised search zone would be in the area of the seventh arc, or the final satellite "handshake" from the plane, believed to be when the aircraft ran out of fuel and was in descent.
JACC said the Fugro Equator is now working in this zone.