Australia’s top science agency thinks it’s finally figured out where MH370 can be found

CSIRO oceanographer Dr David Griffin with a Boeing 777 flaperon used for drift modelling in the search for MH370. Photo: Peter Mathew/CSIRO

Satellite photos of the Indian Ocean taken a fortnight after the Malaysian Airlines flight went missing in 2014 have Australian scientists believing they’ve found the location of the plane.

Analysis of the high-resolution images have led them to conclude they are “probably man-made” objects similar to debris that subsequently washed up around the world during the unsuccessful $200 million two-year joint search of the southern Indian Ocean by Australian, Malaysian and Chinese authorities.

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) released its third and latest report into its likely location saying the location of the debris near the 7th arc “makes them impossible to ignore”, and has detailed their findings in a new blog post.

The biggest search for a missing aircraft in aviation history was called off in January, after authorities failed to find the plane, which left Kuala Lumpur bound for Beijing on 8 March, 2014, with 227 passengers and 12 crew on board.

Last December a report into the search concluded there was a “high degree of confidence” the plane’s wreck would not be found in the 120,000 square kilometre area of the Indian Ocean initially earmarked as the possible crash site.

Geoscience Australia has subsequently reexamined four images, taken on 23 March, 2014, and concluded 12 objects were “probably man-made” and 28 were “possibly man-made”.

CSIRO oceanographer Dr David Griffin said the objects in the photos align with evidence from debris washed up on the African coast and Reunion Island, east of Madagascar, and makes them increasingly certain about where MH370 could is located.

After a wing piece from MH370 was found on Reunion Island, Dr Griffin used a flaperon from another Boeing 777 to conduct new drift testing research for a report released in April.

The objects in the photos vindicate earlier suggestions by the CSIRO about the crash site, with Dr Griffin saying the objects were seen about as close to their predicted location as could be reasonably expected.

The CSIRO’s latest report to the ATSB puts the plane with “with unprecedented precision and certainty” at 35.6°S, 92.8°E. Two candidates other possible sites at 34.7°S 92.6°E and 35.3°S 91.8°E are nearby.


CSIRO’s drift model used in the latest report to the ATSB. The magenta outline delineates the area on the sea floor that has been searched by sonar. The white line denotes a number of potential impact sites. The model shows where debris from impact along that line of potential locations would be on 23 March, when the image was taken by satellite. Some of the dots are within or close to image ‘PHR4’ – the image which revealed the most ‘probably man-made’ objects. Source: CSIRO