Analysis of a large flap section found off the coast of Tanzania supports claim that Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 plunged into the Indian Ocean in a "death dive," according to a new report Friday. The news comes a day after the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), which is leading the search for the missing plane, said that the debris piece found on the island of Pemba was an outboard flap of a Boeing 777 jet.
According to Yahoo 7 News, investigators confirmed that the wing flap was not deployed at the time of impact, ruling out a controlled crash landing in the ocean. This reportedly suggests that Flight MH370 plunged into the ocean at high speed, breaking up on impact. ATSB said in a statement that the flap is still being tested.
“The flap section was being examined for any evidence ... that may indicate the state of flap operation at the time of separation from the wing,” ATSB said. “This information may contribute to an increased understanding of end-of-flight scenarios.”
Earlier, the head of ATSB’s search for MH370, Peter Foley, told the Australian Associated Press that analysis of the flap in Canberra suggested it had not been deployed when it hit the water but retracted inside the wing.
“The rate of descent combined with the position of the flap — if it’s found that it is not deployed [which since has] — will almost certainly rule out either a controlled ditch or glide,” Foley said.
Last month, Greg Hood, the chief commissioner of ATSB, told the Australian that the plane underwent a massive dive at up to 20,000 feet a minute as it plunged into the Indian Ocean on March 8, 2014, new analysis of automated signals from the missing jet revealed.
Several conspiracy theories have made the rounds since the plane went missing over two years ago while on its way to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur. Allegations against the plane’s Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah also surfaced, stating that he “deliberately flew the plane into the Indian Ocean.” A report claimed that data from Zaharie's home simulator showed that he plotted a course to the southern Indian Ocean and that it was a deliberate planned murder or suicide. However, the ATSB and Malaysian authorities have refuted the claims.
"Yes, he had simulated the flight path, but it is one of thousands of simulations to many parts of the world. We cannot, just based on this, confirm he did it,” Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said last month.
The fate of Flight MH370 and its 239 passengers and crew still remains unknown, while the search for the missing plane is nearing its end in a remote part of the southern Indian Ocean. Authorities have decided that the search will be suspended in case no credible clues are found about the plane's whereabouts after the 46,332 square mile area is scoured.