Archive for June, 2021

FBI Investigation of MH370 Still Open

I recently submitted a FOIA request to the FBI for all documents related to MH370, which disappeared more than seven years ago. Yesterday, the FBI responded that the request was denied due to “a pending or prospective law enforcement proceeding”. This is identical to the response I received two years ago after I submitted a similar request. It implies the US intelligence community has relevant material that it will not release due to an open criminal investigation.

The FOIA request was one last attempt to obtain more information about MH370.

Independent investigators continue to use the data already in the public domain to guide future search efforts to find the debris field in the Southern Indian Ocean (SIO). Notably, Bobby Ulich continues to lead an effort that uses the timing and location of recovered debris, combined with CSIRO’s drift model results, to assess the most likely point of impact (POI), including uncertainty estimates of that position.

However, there exists other evidence not yet released that could aid researchers in localizing the POI:

  • All of the Malaysian military radar data.
  • Radar data from other sources, including the Singapore radar source operating in the vicinity of the Andaman Sea.
  • Existing subsea sonar data from Ocean Infinity to determine precisely what areas were searched and which areas have low quality or missing data due to steep terrain, sonar shadows, or equipment anomalies.
  • Any probative evidence discovered by the French judicial investigation.
  • Unpublished debris analysis, e.g., spoiler and vortex generator baseplate. (HT Mike Exner)
  • Boeing’s participation in detailed fuel calculations to confirm that our fuel models, which were used to help determine the southern-most limit of the POI, are accurate. Those models must include the effects of non-standard atmospheric temperatures and turning off the extraction of bleed air used to pressurize the cabin.
  • NTSB flight data and Inmarsat satellite data that were used by Australia’s DSTG to investigate the measurement error in recorded BTO and BFO values. (HT Don Thompson)

We are nearing the end of what is left to analyze that can realistically help us find the debris field in the SIO. Unless new data or insights are publicly released, there is not much more that the analysts can add to our understanding of the disappearance.

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