New report virtually pinpoints MH370
STARTLING new evidence has virtually pinpointed the location of MH370 - 1258 days since it disappeared.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau has today released an explosive new report that effectively narrows the search zone for the missing plane down to an area half the size of Melbourne.
GeoScience Australia has been examining four satellite images taken in the weeks after the plane went missing in the area identified late last year as MH370's likely resting spot.
They found 12 objects in those images that they deemed man-made and 28 that they regard as possibly man-made.
The images were taken by a French Military satellite in late March 2014 but were discarded by authorities. The ATSB were not involved in the search at that time.
The drift modelling initially released late last year identified an area of 25,000sq km just outside the original search area.
Today's report combines a refinement of that drift modelling as well as the discarded satellite images to narrow the likely search zone down to an area of just 5000sq km.
As part of the latest report, all satellite imagery of the relevant new area came up for review.
The dimensions of the objects found in the satellite images are comparable with some of the debris items that washed up on African beaches.
Their location near the "7th arc" of the search zone makes them impossible to ignore, the report states.
The new plot is based on comprehensive drift modelling and testing - including the release of a real Boeing 777 flaperon to test the floating characteristics of the one belonging to MH370 recovered off the coast of Africa.
"We measured its drift characteristics after modifying it to match the damaged one retrieved from Ile de la Reunion," the report says. "This work did not change our estimate of the most likely location of the impact - it just increased confidence in the modelling by explaining more easily the 29 July 2015 Ile de la Reunion flaperon discovery."
The researchers combined ocean current modelling with the satellite images, assessing the motion of wind and water in the Indian Ocean between March 8 and 24.
They've come up with a 'bracket' of locations based on these tested drift patterns, naming them West 1, West 2, East 1 and East 2. These locations straddle the arc from which MH370's transmitters were last detected.