HONG KONG —
Teams searching for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 are looking in the right place, the results of two new independent studies suggest.
The Joint Agency Coordination Center, the Australian government agency in charge of the search, said a new “prioritized” search area in the Indian Ocean had been identified by the new analysis, at the southern end of the existing search zone.
It is significant that the two studies, which had been taking place since the search began and used different methods, reached similar conclusions, the JACC said.
The Australian Defense Science and Technology (DST) Group carried out its analysis using Bayesian methods — a statistical technique that informs probability — while aircraft maker Boeing analyzed the possible speed and flight ranges of the plane at different cruise altitudes.
The JACC said that the discovery of the flaperon on Reunion island in July was consistent with the current search area.
In September, French authorities confirmed that the plane part was from the missing flight.
The existing 120,000 square kilometer target area will continue to be “thoroughly searched,” the JACC said, an operation that will likely take until mid-2016.
MH370, carrying 239 passengers and crew, disappeared in the early hours of March 8, 2014, less than an hour after it took off from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, en route to Beijing, China.