MH370's lost flaperon: Forensic analysis based on
SANDER + PARTNER supports the search for the missing aircraft MH370 of the Malaysian Airlines.
Munich, 2 September 2015
Oceanographic and meteorological expertise adds valuable assistance to limit the
search area of MH370.
MH370 had lost a part of its wing, called a flaperon. This flaperon traversed
the Indian Ocean and was recently found on the isle of La Réunion.
SANDER + PARTNER performed computer simulations in order to re-construct
the path of the flaperon through the ocean. Oceanographic models are able to
reproduce the path of a single part inside the turbulent current of
the ocean only in parts. Instead our simulation tracks thousands of
In a first simulation we followed the path of thousands of
particles back in time, starting with the date when the flaperon
was found on La Réunion.
The movie shows the tracks of "virtual" particles which have been released
on 29 July 2015, the date when the part of MH370's wing was found at
La Réunion. The simulation shows the paths through the ocean back in time
until the date when MH370 disappeared.
The dark-blue area shows the current search area where
survey vessels are searching for the missing aircraft.
The light-blue area indicates the regions where the flaperon
may have been submerged into the water one, two, three ... weeks before
it reached La Réunion on 29 July 2015. The green lines show
the path through the ocean for some randomly selected
Oceanographic simulations support the search for MH370
The simulation indicate with high degree of certainty, that the
flaperon found at La Réunion had submerged into the northern
part of the Indian Ocean, north of 20° south.
The simulation indicate that the flaperon could -in principle- impinge into
the ocean anywhere between Africa and the Malaysian archipelago to reach
La Réunion at 29 July 2015.
With high certainty, the flaperon did not touch waters south of
the Australian Coast.
MH370 did not loose the flaperon in the current search area south of the
Latest oceanographic modelling shows that MH370 did not loose the flaperon
south of Australia.
A last ping from MH370 was received from satellite somewhere
on an arc crossing the whole Indian Ocean. Currently vessels are searching for MH370
along a tiny fraction along this arc at the Australian coast.
Additional simulations have been prepared, but now thousands
of "virtual" particles
have been released into the Indian Ocean currents inside the search area.
The movie shows the latest simulation: "virtual" particles
follow the oceanographic drift starting with the date of
disappearing MH370 and within the current search corridor (shown as blue line).
The simulation follow the path of the particles until the date when
the flaperon has been found on La Réunion. The path of the drifting particles is shown as red lines.
Oceanographic simulations of SANDER + PARTNER indicate that the flaperon
of MH370 found at La Réunion did not drift through the Indian Ocean
starting from the current search area.
With high degree of certainty, the flaperon submerged into the Indian Ocean
north of 20° south.
One might speculate whether MH370 lost the flaperon at an early stage of its
flight and the damaged aircraft continued traveling further south into the
current search area until MH370 run out of fuel.
Whenever the flaperon was released into the ocean at the same time
when the aircraft submerged, the search corridor for MH370 should be moved
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