Sonar images taken of the Indian Ocean floor closely resemble wreckage of the missing Malaysian plane, Flight MH370, a U.S. consulting firm said Tuesday. The photos, released last month by Australian search teams were initially dismissed by authorities, though experts say they could provide important clues.
Flight MH370 was traveling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing when it disappeared from radar in March 2014. Almost no evidence has surfaced regarding what happened to the plane and its passengers for more than a year as extensive conspiracy theories and false reports of debris proliferated.
It wasn't until July that a flaperon from the plane was discovered on Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean. The flaperon so far is the only piece of confirmed evidence in the search for MH370.
— TODAY (@TODAYonline) October 20, 2015
The deep-sea experts at Williamson & Associates, a geophysical consulting firm, said sonar debris from Australian search images of the Indian Ocean floor look a lot like they were expecting the remains of the Malaysia plane to look, saying one image in particular "bears the hallmarks of a classic high-impact debris trail similar to other wrecks it has located."
The consulting group's paper, as reported by Reuters, compared the images to those of Air France Flight 447, a passenger plane carrying 228 people that crashed into the Atlantic Ocean on a flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris. Wreckage from the plane was not found until two years after the crash, and the conditions of MH370, if it were at the bottom of the Indian Ocean, would be in a similar state.
As a result of the similarities in the images, the group said the area of the ocean floor should be explored further. "We believe that any target with these characteristics should be investigated as a high priority," Williamson's statement said.
The Australian Transport and Safety Bureau, has said the sonar images are in keeping with geographic formations in the region and are not likely an airplane debris field.