Malaysia Airlines 370: 45 pages of satellite data released

Investigators remain confident Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 crashed into a remote stretch of the southern Indian Ocean within around 25 nautical miles of the final ping transmission, despite an initi

Malaysia Airlines 370: 45 pages of satellite data released

Investigators remain confident Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 crashed into a remote stretch of the southern Indian Ocean within around 25 nautical miles of the final ping transmission, despite an initial underwater search and lengthy air-and-sea hunt for floating debris failing to find any trace of the plane.

This is according to 45 pages of satellite data released and an article published in the Wall Street Journal.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Australian investigators determined that analysis of the final transmissions between the plane and a satellite found that the jetliner was likely descending after running out of fuel.

Flight 370’s final digital handshake with the satellite didn’t coincide with previous regular hourly transmissions. That is likely due to its electrical systems resetting when the plane ran out of fuel, the ATSB summary said, confirming earlier reports in The Wall Street Journal.

The ATSB also said for the first time that the search area intersects the only air route that passes down through the southeastern Indian Ocean, route M641, which travels from Cocos Island to Perth through four way points.

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The overlap of the Cocos-Perth air route and search area may be a coincidence, with investigators still unsure about the plane’s navigation during its final hours. Air routes are preprogrammed into flight computers and can be navigated without human intervention, raising the possibility that none of the crew were conscious when the plane crashed.

Authorities are also trying a new approach to help refine the search area: listening to audio captured by special underwater microphones spread across the ocean, which are typically used to monitor signs of illegal nuclear explosions. The microphones have long been deployed as part of the United Nations Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

The Ocean Shield’s departure will leave the Chinese survey vessel Zhu Kezhen alone in the search area, carrying out early work to map the seabed. The ATSB said it would take up to three months to map the entire area some 1,000 miles northwest of Perth, with an additional ship from a private contractor being deployed in early June to scan the ocean floor at depths of up to 6,000 meters.

The results will enable towed sonar equipment to be deployed without the risk of it banging into undersea ridges and mountains.

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