Examination of a key piece of debris from the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 suggests that the aircraft was most likely in a steep dive when it plunged into the ocean, with the wing flaps in a retracted position.
The new evidence, released Wednesday by Australian investigators, reinforces the theory that the plane wasn’t under human control at the time of its apparent crash in March 2014, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Investigators overseeing the search for the airliner said in a report that the wing flap likely wasn’t extended when the plane hit the water, suggesting the aircraft wasn’t in a controlled glide with a pilot or passenger at the controls, according to the paper.
“It was probably in a non-extended position, which means that the aircraft wasn’t configured for a landing or a ditching,” Peter Foley, director of the search for Flight 370 at the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, was quoted as saying.
Investigators continue to seek answers to one of the world’s biggest aviation mysteries even as governments prepare to suspend the search after months spent scouring the floor of the southern Indian Ocean failed to find any trace of the plane there.
Flight 370 vanished from radar en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur on March 8, 2014, with 239 people on board.
Based on communications between the aircraft and an Inmarsat PLC satellite, it is believed that the aircraft was plummeting at a rate of at least 12,000 feet a minute when it entered the water.
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