Two years ago Boeing 777 captain Simon Hardy calculated the most likely position of MH370’s undersea remains using only established facts and mathematics.
The Australian-led international search for the lost Malaysia Airlines 777, however, may be suspended in December just short of that position unless existing plans are amended.
Hardy’s proposed position, and the methodology that determined it, has been widely published, both in Flight International magazine in January 2015 and a month earlier on the web via FlightGlobal.com.
Most theories posted to the web – especially related to serious subjects like this – usually attract massive peer criticism and public comment, but Hardy’s has faced no criticism, just requests for clarification.
It has, however, attracted great interest, and he has met the Australian Transport Safety Board at their request more than once to talk about it.
Hardy’s calculations put the resting position of MH370 just outside the planned area for the multinational search effort, close to its southern end. So the methodology that the official search team used produced results that are pretty close to the predictions Hardy reached independently.
Here is the ATSB’s explanation, posted on 21 September, as to why they will not look in Hardy’s predicted position even if the remainder of the planned search fails to find the aircraft:
“At a meeting of Ministers from Malaysia, Australia and the People’s Republic of China held on 22 July 2016, it was agreed that should the aircraft not be located in the current search area, and in the absence of credible new evidence leading to the identification of a specific location of the aircraft, the search would be suspended upon completion of the 120,000 square kilometre search area.”
The ATSB makes the intention clear: “It is expected that searching the entire 120,000 square kilometre search area will be completed by around December 2016.”
Hardy’s calculations put the MH370 wreck just outside that area, and they cannot be defined as “new evidence” because the ATSB knows about them already and has decided, without explaining why, not to search there.
By December the arrival of the southern hemisphere summer will have made the search much easier.
Hopefully the search team will find the aircraft remains within their planned search area. But what if they don’t?
If the ATSB won’t go there, Hardy is considering crowdfunding to extend the search for a few weeks into the area indicated by his work.