Search efforts for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 should be directed closer to the Indonesian island of Java, said German researchers, Agence France-Presse reported Wednesday. The researchers reportedly produced ocean current simulations that indicate the search is likely thousands of miles off course

Based on the ocean current models, the $140 million search has been about 3,500 miles south of where researchers now believe the plane crashed. The group first suggested that search efforts be refocused after they determined that barnacles on a wing, which was confirmed Thursday to be MH370 debris, were not native to the area of the search. 

The researchers, who are from the Geomar Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research in Kiel, Germany, say that the ocean current simulations have further confirmed their theory that the search needed to move north. Based on the models, "we were able to calculate the most likely site of a particle once every month," researcher Jonathan Durgadoo said.

But the group cautioned that all evidence needs to be considered before ultimately redirecting the search. "Our descriptions are just a further piece of the puzzle for solving the larger mystery of MH370," said researcher Arne Biastoch.


Evidence from the discovery of the barnacle-encrusted Boeing 777 wing has been the driving force behind the recent search efforts for the plane, which disappeared in March 2014 during a flight from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing. The wing, which was found in July on Réunion Island in the Indian Ocean, redirected the search to a 120,000 square mile area of ocean that is 2,000 kilometers west of Perth, Australia. According to the German researchers, only satellite data had been used to guide the search efforts. 

Malaysia, Australia and China reportedly plan to hold a meeting in early September to discuss redirecting search efforts.