Recently unearthed satellite images taken weeks after flight MH370 vanished appear to show at least 12 “man-made” objects near the latest search area, a key breakthrough in the almost four-year search for the 239 people aboard the flight.
The images were taken on March 23, 2014, by French satellites off the west coast of Australia in an area that came to be known as the Seventh Arc. The four images that were investigated contain at least 70 identifiable objects, the ATSB said in a report released Thursday.
“The nature of these objects ranges from those that in our assessment are probably natural, through to those that are probably man-made,” the report said.
Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 went missing on March 8 during a routine flight between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing. Over 20 pieces of debris have been discovered but there have been no significant debris findings for over three years, except for a discovery on Reunion Island.
Officials also revealed Thursday that reverse drift-modeling has narrowed the MH370 search zone to a mere 5,000 square-kilometres, a much smaller area compared to the weeks and months after the jet disappeared.
Investigators said there is a high probability that more debris is discovered to the west or east of the Seventh Arc area–based on seven acoustic “pings” from MH370’s engine data analyzed after the disappearance.
Debris linked to MH370 has been discovered near the same area including off the east coast of Africa, just west of the Seventh Arc near Reunion Island and Madagascar.
MH370 Families reacted to the latest reports in a statement Thursday, calling the current state of MH370 search affairs “Inexplicable, illogical and unjustifiable.” The group said authorities were dodging every effort to restart the search for the Boeing 777.
“Repeatedly invoking the ‘precise location’ by Australia and Malaysia coupled with China’s silence signifies a collective determination to dodge any and every effort to resume the search for MH370 that has remained suspended since January 2017.”