Aviation

Underwater microphones point to new crash site for MH370

A new study has identified another possible location where missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 could have crashed, as well as an alternative route that the plane may have taken.

The flight carrying 239 disappeared during its journey from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on 8 March 2014.

It was previously thought by authorities that the plane crashed south-west of Western Australia. However, two searches for MH370 have failed to find anything.

A team of scientists at the UK’s Cardiff University have been studying acoustic-gravity waves picked up by two hydrophone (underwater microphone) stations in the Indian Ocean which were active at the time when MH370 went missing.

The first station (HA01) is off Cape Leeuwin in Western Australia, while the second (HA08s) is at Diego Garcia, which is part of the Chagos Archipelago.

The university’s previous studies have mostly looked at the signals collected by station HA01 between 12:00am and 2:00am UTC on 8 March 2014, as well as signals that related to the last satellite data transmission from MH370 at 12:19am UTC.

However, Dr Usama Kadri from Cardiff University said that with his team’s new understanding of acoustic-gravity waves, they decided to look at hydroacoustic data from HA01 that was recorded during a wider timeframe – between 23:00pm on 7 March 2014 and 04:00am the next day – and analysed data from the further away HA08s station.

“We have now been able to identify two locations where the aeroplane could have impacted with the ocean, as well as an alternative route that the plane may have taken,” he wrote in a post on The Conversation.

Kadri said the bearings of some of the signals from HA08s fall within the area where signals from the military action were picked up, so it is possible that the signals are associated with the military action.

However, if the signals are related to MH370, Kadri said would suggest a new possible impact location in the northern part of the Indian Ocean, to the north-east of Madagascar.

“The locations of signals found using HA08s data do come with high uncertainty, but still require further detailed and careful analysis,” he said.

“In light of this research, we recommended that signals recorded at all times between 23:00 (March 7) and 04:00 (March 8) UTC, at both stations HA01 and HA08s are analysed with no exception. And that this is done independently from other sources (such as satellite data), to minimise inclusion of uncertainties related to them.

“These recommendations have been communicated to the MH370 Safety Investigation Team in Malaysia, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, and other relevant authorities with the hope that the search will be resumed to find the missing aircraft.”

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