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MH370 passengers likely suffocated: report

June 27, 2014, Perth, Aus. - The passengers and crew of the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 most likely died from suffocation and coasted lifelessly into the ocean on autopilot, a new report released by Australian officials said.

June 27, 2014  By Thomson Reuters

In a 55-page report, the Australian Transport Safety Board outlined
late Thursday how investigators had arrived at this conclusion after
comparing the conditions on the flight with previous disasters, although
it contained no new evidence from within the jetliner.


The report narrowed down the possible final resting place from
thousands of possible routes, while noting the absence of communications
and the steady flight path and a number of other key abnormalities in
the course of the ill-fated flight.



"Given these observations, the final stages of the unresponsive
crew/hypoxia event type appeared to best fit the available evidence for
the final period of MH370's flight when it was heading in a generally
southerly direction," the ATSB report said.

All of that suggested that the plane most likely crashed farther south
into the Indian Ocean than previously thought, Australian officials also
said, leading them to announce a shift farther south within the prior
search area.

The new analysis comes more than 100 days after the Boeing 777,
carrying 239 passengers and crew, disappeared on March 8 shortly after
taking off from Kuala Lumpur bound for Beijing.


Investigators say what little evidence they have to work with
suggests the plane was deliberately diverted thousands of kilometres
from its scheduled route before eventually plunging into the Indian


The search was narrowed in April after a series of acoustic pings
thought to be from the plane's black box recorders were heard along a
final arc where analysis of satellite data put its last location.


But a month later, officials conceded the wreckage was not in that
concentrated area, some 1,600 kilometres off the northwest coast of
Australia, and the search area would have to be expanded.


"The new priority area is still focused on the seventh arc, where the
aircraft last communicated with satellite. We are now shifting our
attention to an area further south along the arc," Australian Deputy
Prime Minister Warren Truss told reporters in Canberra.

Truss said the area was determined after a review of satellite data,
early radar information and aircraft performance limits after the plane
diverted across the Malaysian peninsula and headed south into one of the
remotest areas of the planet.


"It is highly, highly likely that the aircraft was on autopilot
otherwise it could not have followed the orderly path that has been
identified through the satellite sightings," Truss said.


The next phase of the search is expected to start in August and take a
year, covering some 60,000 square kilometres at a cost of $56
million or more. The search is already the most expensive in aviation


The new priority search area is around 2,000 km west of Perth, a
stretch of isolated ocean frequently lashed by storm-force winds and
massive swells.


Two vessels, one Chinese and one from Dutch engineering company
Fugro, are currently mapping the sea floor along the arc, where depths
exceed 5,000 metres in parts.


A tender to find a commercial operator to conduct the sea floor search closes on Monday.


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