Australian MH370 report says plane in ‘increasing rate of descent’ when it vanished

A new report into missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 says that additional analysis of satellite communications from the aircraft was consistent with it being in a “high and increasing rate of descent” when it vanished.

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA (NOVEMBER 2, 2016) (AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION) – A new report into missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 says that additional analysis of satellite communications from the aircraft was consistent with it being in a “high and increasing rate of descent” when it vanished.

The report by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), which is leading the search for MH370, said additional analysis of wing flap debris found the aircraft was not configured for a landing. Both pieces of information support the agency’s long-held view that an unpiloted MH370 descended rapidly after running out of fuel with no human intervention.

The 28-page report released on Wednesday (November 2), containing new end-of-flight and drift simulations, coincides with the start of a three-day meeting of international experts to develop potential plans to continue the search for MH370.

Australian Transport Minister Darren Chester, who is chairing the Canberra meeting of experts, said the group would review all available data and analysis associated with the search.

“We have remained hopeful throughout the whole process that we are searching the right area and the report released today confirms we are searching in the right area. But in the absence of finding the aircraft obviously it leaves room for further speculation and theories, but I simply won’t second guess the experts. The information provided to us is that we are searching in the right area,” he said.

The Boeing 777 disappeared on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in March 2014 with 239 passengers and crew on board, sparking a two-and-a-half year search that has focused on the Indian Ocean.Authorities from Malaysia, Australia and China initially expected to finish searching a 120,000 sq km (46,000 sq mile) target area by the end of 2016, but bad weather has delayed the probe by another two months.

The ATSB report suggests that experts believe the current search area is the most likely to contain the crash site.

“I don’t think in any way, shape or form spending two and a half years of extraordinary effort looking for the aircraft could be seen as a failure and I hate, I would hate to express that thought amongst my team and indeed all the experts who are in the room who have devoted an extraordinary amount of time to, you know, finding the solution to a puzzle. I mean, every single one of us is motivated by the desire to find the aircraft for the families and indeed for aviation safety more broadly,” Peter Foley, program director of the operational search for MH370.

In a separate development, a lawyer for the families of four Australian victims told Reuters that Malaysia Airlines has agreed to release information about the missing plane as part of a compensation case.

John Dawson, a partner at Carneys Lawyers, said he had been advised he would receive the information by the end of the month. The information is to include medical certificates held by the flight crew.