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Researchers' new claims could lead to missing flight MH370 finally being found

Researchers' new claims could lead to missing flight MH370 finally being found

Cardiff University scientists have utilised hydrophones to test their theory

New research claims that the mystery shrouding Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 could be uncovered by utilising sound.

On March 8, 2014, 239 passengers and crew members boarded a Boeing 777 flight and jetted off from Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

However, the Malaysia Airlines plane was lost from air traffic control’s secondary surveillance radar mid-flight and never reached its planned destination, Beijing Capital International Airport in China.

Over a decade later, officials are still unsure what befell flight MH370 and despite extensive search efforts, only small parts of the aeroplane have been discovered.

However, researchers from Cardiff University are proposing that information pertaining to the vanishing flight could be buried among hydrophone recordings.

According to NOAA’s National Ocean Service, a hydrophone is an underwater device that detects and records ocean sounds from all directions.

Mathematician and engineer Dr Usama Kadri says hydrophones were in operation at Western Australia’s Cape Leeuwin and Diego Garcia, an island in the Indian Ocean at the time of the flight’s mysterious disappearance.

“A 200-tonne aircraft crashing at a speed of 200 metres per second would release the kinetic energy equivalent to a small earthquake,” wrote the doctor in The Conversation.

Scientists believe the mystery of flight MH370 could be cracked using sound.(National Geographic)
Scientists believe the mystery of flight MH370 could be cracked using sound.(National Geographic)

“It would be large enough to be recorded by hydrophones thousands of kilometres away.”

Dr Kadri and his team have analyzed data from the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization’s (CTBTO) hydroacoustic stations and examined data for signals along MH370’s initial flight path.

Unfortunately, no corresponding acoustic signatures were initially detected but the researchers claim the findings aren’t conclusive.

“Given the sensitivity of the hydrophones, it’s highly unlikely that a large aircraft impacting the ocean surface wouldn’t leave a detectable pressure signature, particularly on nearby hydrophones. But unfavourable ocean conditions could potentially dampen or obscure such a signal.”

Dr Kadri said that while the university’s research into hydrophones hasn’t pinpointed MH370’s exact crash it has highlighted ‘the potential of hydroacoustic technology in solving this aviation mystery’.

Dr Usama Kadri says ongoing efforts can bring closure to the victim's families. (Cardiff University)
Dr Usama Kadri says ongoing efforts can bring closure to the victim's families. (Cardiff University)

“By refining our methods and conducting further experiments, we could provide new insights into MH370’s fate and improve our response to future maritime incidents.”

He added that the ongoing efforts seek to bring closure to the families affected and enhance the team’s scientific ability to ‘track and understand aviation accidents over vast oceanic expanses.’

Earlier this year, Malaysian transport minister Anthony Loke vowed to renew the search for the missing plane at an event to mark the tragedy’s 10th anniversary.

“The Malaysian government is committed to the search, and the search must go on.”

Ocean Infinity, a company who had attempted twice previously to locate the plan, has recently made a new offer on a ‘no find, no fee’ basis to secure the flight.

Featured Image Credit: National Geographic/ RICHARD BOUHET/AFP via Getty Images

Topics: China, Science, Travel, World News, Technology