Authorities now have a new theory about where MH370 can be found -- just as the search is due to end

Sergeant Steve Barnes aboard an RAAF AP-3C Orion looking for Flight MH370. Photo: Sergeant Hamish Paterson/ Supplied.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau thinks search efforts are looking in the wrong place for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370.

In a new report — the product of the MH370 First Principles Review in November — authorities say they have a “high degree of confidence” that the plane’s wreck will not be found in the 120,000 square kilometre area of the Indian Ocean mapped out as the possible crash site they’ve spent more than two years searching at a cost of almost $200 million.

Now, with less than 10,000 square kilometres left to be searched by the end of January, “The search for MH370 and ocean surface drift” report says “the previously identified underwater area searched to date does not contain the missing aircraft.”

The report identifies a new area of approximately 25,000 square kilometres, north of the current area.

“When considered together with updated flight path modelling, the experts concluded that an unsearched area between latitudes 33°S and 36°S along the 7th arc of approximately 25,000 km², has the highest probability of containing the wreckage of the aircraft,” the report reads.

“The experts concluded that, if this area were to be searched, prospective areas for locating the aircraft wreckage, based on all the analysis to date, would be exhausted.”

Whether the new area will be searched will depend on the Australian, Malaysian and Chinese governments funding the current search effort.

MH370 disappeared on March 8, 2014 with 239 aboard.

The search for the missing aircraft has been the largest in aviation history.

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