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FILE - In this March 31, 2014 file photo, HMAS Success scans the southern Indian Ocean, near the coast of Western Australia, as a Royal New Zealand Air Force P3 Orion flies over, while searching for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith, File)

A new analysis of MH370 implies no one was at the controls when it crashed


A new report on missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 suggests no one was at the controls when the plane disappeared and was assumed to have crashed in 2014.

If a pilot was controlling the plane, it could mean the flight traveled much further and would triple the search area. But the report finds a simple but critical flaw with that theory: The wing flaps were not deployed when the plane hit the water, which a pilot would likely have done.

wing flap.jpg
In this photo released Friday Sept. 16, 2016, by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) staff examine a piece of aircraft debris at their laboratory in Canberra, Australia, July. 20, 2016. The flap was found in June by residents on Pemba Island off the coast of Tanzania and officials had previously said it was highly likely to have come from flight MH370. An analysis by experts at the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, which is heading up the search for the plane, subsequently confirmed the part was indeed from the missing Boeing 777 aircraft, the agency said in a statement. (Photo/ATSB via AP)

The report's conclusion leads experts to believe the search for the plane wreckage is being carried out in the right place.

The wing flap, pictured here, washed ashore in Tanzania last month.

You can never be 100 percent. We are very reluctant to express absolute certainty.
Peter Foley

However, even this is far from a sure thing, according to Peter Foley, director of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau's Flight 370 search operations.

More than 20 items of debris suspected or confirmed to be from the plane have washed ashore. But a sonar search for the main wreckage has found nothing.

A new analysis of MH370 implies no one was at the controls when it crashed

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