Drift analysis says MH370 likely crashed north of search

French police officers look over a piece of debris from a plane in Saint-Andre Reunion Island. The wing was later found to be from missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 that went missing

Analysis of a genuine Boeing 777 wing flap has reaffirmed experts' opinion that missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is most likely to have crashed north of an abandoned search area in the Indian Ocean.

The plane flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing went off the radar on 8 March 2014 with 239 passengers and crew on board.

In December, just as the search was wrapping up, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau revealed research that indicated a 9,700-square-mile area north of the zone had "the highest probability of containing the wreckage of the aircraft", the Guardian reported.

Previous tests had involved using inexact replicas, but Dr Griffin said testing an nearly identical flaperon "added an extra level of assurance to the findings from our earlier drift modelling work".

This latest research confirms their earlier drift analysis made in a report released in November 2016.

Three fragments were also recovered from the plane outside the official search zone on western Indian Ocean shores, including a two-metre wing part known as a flaperon found on La Reunion island.

The $AUD200 million ($USD150.54 million) search for the aircraft was suspended when Malaysia and Australia rejected a recommendation to search north of the 120,000 sq km area already canvassed, saying the new area was too imprecise. France is conducting its own investigation and has not handed over the Reunion Island flaperon to the wider investigation.

However, the transport ministers of Malaysia, China and Australia chose to suspend the search for MH370 until "credible new evidence" pointing to its precise location was found.

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"We can not be absolutely certain, but that is where all the evidence we have points us, and this new work leaves us more confident in our findings".

"The arrival of MH370's flaperon at La Reunion in July 2015 now makes flawless sense", said CSIRO scientist David Griffin, adding that how the flaperon responded to wind, waves and ocean currents was crucial.

"We've found that an actual flaperon goes about 20 degrees to the left, and faster than the replicas, as we thought it might".

The CSIRO report had been provided to Malaysian authorities, which, Chester reiterated, held overall responsibility for the investigation of MH370's disappearance.

An ATSB spokesman told the ABC: "Malaysia as the lead investigator will work closely with the Australian and Chinese governments in deciding any future search efforts".

In a statement on Friday, Australia's transport minister, Darren Chester, said he welcomed the CSIRO report.

For nearly three years, crews searched more than 46,000 square miles of the Indian Ocean for MH370.

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