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Malaysian Airlines MH370 Was Out of Control When It Vanished: ATSB

An official update says new data indicate Flight MH370 wasn't being piloted to a gliding landing in March 2014, as some theorists have suggested.
IMAGE: Search for Flight MH370
A search officer scans the water in the southern Indian Ocean for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in March 2014.Rob Griffith / AP - file

A new report into the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines MH370 adds more evidence to investigators' theory that the plane was diving out of control and plunged into the Indian Ocean more than 2½ years ago.

Since the crash in March 2014, there have been competing theories over whether one or both pilots were in control, whether the plane was hijacked or whether no one was at the controls when it vanished with 239 passengers and crew on board.

Fugro World Wide, the Dutch company leading the underwater hunt for the plane, has suggested that the plane may have glided rather than dived in the final moments, which would mean it has probably been searching in the wrong part of the Indian Ocean.

But Wednesday's report — released by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, which is leading the search for MH370 — said additional analysis of satellite communications and wing flap debris was consistent with the plane's having smashed into the water at a "high and increasing rate of descent."

Peter Foley, director of MH370 search operations for the Transport Safety Bureau, said at a news conference Wednesday that the new analysis "means the aircraft wasn't configured for a landing or a ditching," Sky News Australia reported.

"You can draw your own conclusions as to whether that means someone was in control. You can never be 100 percent," Foley said. "We are very reluctant to express absolute certainty."

The report was issued at the start of a three-day conference of international experts in Canberra to decide whether and where to continue searching for the missing plane. Investigators said last month that the underwater search will have to be delayed because of bad weather in the Indian Ocean.