As aviation experts from around the world sat to discuss the future of the missing MH370 mystery, a new report on the examination of recovered debris has confirmed the flight was unmanned during the final moments. The report noted that analysis of data from the final satellite communications was found to be consistent with the aircraft being in "a high and increasing rate of descent" before plunging into the ocean.
The report titled "MH370 – Search and debris examination update", published by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) on Wednesday, 2 November, comprises findings from the analyses of satellite data and a right outboard wing flap of the Boeing 777 found off a Tanzania coast in June. The report also contains preliminary results from the enhanced debris drift modelling.
The report stated that experts studied several "discrete areas" of the wing flap and the damages caused to them. "Some of the damage was consistent with the flaps in the retracted position, while other areas did not provide any useful indication of the likely flap position," it stated.
Analysis of the damaged parts indicated it was less likely the wing flap was in an extended position at the time of descent, it added. The damage caused to "the internal seal pan components at the inboard end of the outboard flap" were found to be more consistent with "contact between the support track and flap, with the flap in the retracted position".
"The right outboard flap was most likely in the retracted position at the time it separated from the wing and the right flaperon was probably at, or close to, the neutral position at the time it separated from the wing," the report concluded.
The ATSB said in the report that preliminary results of the drift analysis conducted by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation indicated "it was unlikely that debris originated from south of the current search area. The northernmost simulated regions were also found to be less likely". The bureau added further drift analysis is ongoing and is expected to refine the results.
Meanwhile, a three-day meeting of aviation experts from across the world is being held in Canberra to decide whether to continue the search for the missing flight, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reported.
The ongoing search in the designated 120,000sq km seafloor in the Southern Indian Ocean is expected to end in 2017. There is a tentative plan to extend the search north of the current search area, ABC Radio reported.
The $130m (£106m) has not yielded any results so far in the past two years. ABC reported that ATSB believes it would need a further $30m to extend the search for the plane that went missing on 8 March 2014 with 239 passengers on board heading towards Beijing from Kuala Lumpur.