Missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 nosedived into the ocean, explaining the lack of debris and oil spillage ever to be found, a Texas university mathematician has claimed.
The disappearance of the Boeing 777 on March 8 last year has been dubbed one of the aviation industry's biggest mysteries.
The flight veered off its original path from Beijing to Kuala Lumpur for reasons still unknown before it reportedly crashed into the southern Indian Ocean. Experts believe, based on latest satellite data, it is somewhere along the so-called seventh arc.
But to date no trace of wreckage has ever been found. 239 crew and passengers are believed to have died.
Now Dr Goong Chen, a mathematician from Texas A&M University at Qatar, along with his team of experts believe no debris or oil spill has ever been discovered because the plane vertically entered the ocean.
"The true final moments of MH370 are likely to remain a mystery until someday when its black box is finally recovered and decoded," Chen said. "But forensics strongly supports that MH370 plunged into the ocean in a nosedive."
He argued if the plane entered the ocean from any other angle it would have broken up on impact as it collided with the ocean's surface. He said 3,500 pieces of floating debris were recovered when Air France's flight 447 crashed on June 1, 2009.
The team examined five different scenarios including a gliding water entry which US Airways flight 1549 performed when it landed in the middle of New York City's Hudson River, that became known as "the miracle on the Hudson".
Authorities are still searching for MH370. Hopes were raised when last month Dutch Fugro search vessels detected a 19th-century shipwreck using sonar equipment in the Indian Ocean.
Peter Foley, the ATSB director leading the search, said at the time: "It's a fascinating find, but it's not what we're looking for. We're not pausing in the search for MH370, in fact the vessels have already moved on to continue the mission.
"Obviously, we're disappointed that it wasn't the aircraft, but we were always realistic about the likelihood. And this event has really demonstrated that the systems, people and equipment involved in the search are working well. It's shown that if there's a debris field in the search area, we'll find it."