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Malaysia jet passengers likely suffocated, Australia says



(Reuters) - The passengers and crew of the missing Malaysia Airlines (MASM.KL) Flight MH370 most likely died from suffocation and coasted lifelessly into the ocean on autopilot, a new report released by Australian officials on Thursday said.

In a 55-page report, the Australian Transport Safety Board outlined how investigators had arrived at this conclusion after comparing the conditions on the flight with previous disasters, although it contained no new evidence from within the jetliner.

MH370 Passengers Likely Suffocated, Australia Says

The report narrowed down the possible final resting place from thousands of possible routes, while noting the absence of communications and the steady flight path and a number of other key abnormalities in the course of the ill-fated flight.

"Given these observations, the final stages of the unresponsive crew/hypoxia event type appeared to best fit the available evidence for the final period of MH370's flight when it was heading in a generally southerly direction," the ATSB report said.

All of that suggested that the plane most likely crashed farther south into the Indian Ocean than previously thought, Australian officials also said, leading them to announce a shift farther south within the prior search area.

The new analysis comes more than 100 days after the Boeing (BA.N) 777, carrying 239 passengers and crew, disappeared on March 8 shortly after taking off from Kuala Lumpur bound for Beijing.

Investigators say what little evidence they have to work with suggests the plane was deliberately diverted thousands of kilometers from its scheduled route before eventually plunging into the Indian Ocean.

The search was narrowed in April after a series of acoustic pings thought to be from the plane's black box recorders were heard along a final arc where analysis of satellite data put its last location.

But a month later, officials conceded the wreckage was not in that concentrated area, some 1,600 km (1,000 miles) off the northwest coast of Australia, and the search area would have to be expanded.

"The new priority area is still focused on the seventh arc, where the aircraft last communicated with satellite. We are now shifting our attention to an area further south along the arc," Australian Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss told reporters in Canberra.

Truss said the area was determined after a review of satellite data, early radar information and aircraft performance limits after the plane diverted across the Malaysian peninsula and headed south into one of the remotest areas of the planet.

"It is highly, highly likely that the aircraft was on autopilot otherwise it could not have followed the orderly path that has been identified through the satellite sightings," Truss said.

The next phase of the search is expected to start in August and take a year, covering some 60,000 sq km at a cost of A$60 million ($56 million) or more. The search is already the most expensive in aviation history.

The new priority search area is around 2,000 km west of Perth, a stretch of isolated ocean frequently lashed by storm force winds and massive swells.

Two vessels, one Chinese and one from Dutch engineering company Fugro (FUGRc.AS), are currently mapping the sea floor along the arc, where depths exceed 5,000 meters in parts.

A tender to find a commercial operator to conduct the sea floor search closes on Monday.

(Additional reporting by Matt Siegel; Editing by Nick Macfie and Stephen Coates)

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BRUCE June 27 2014 at 6:04 AM

Sooo...basicly they're still guessing.

Flag Reply +51 rate up
10 replies
auctionsurplus June 27 2014 at 6:42 AM

What a horriblem horrible article. As long as it is speculation no new source has any business throwing something like this out there. Imagine the family's horror reading this. Not one Agency, government or single person knows what happened. The lack of a single piece of debris tells many of us that plane did not go into the ocean. Until they have solid evidence I don't think they should be writing about this any more. It's just getting to be mundane, and now.....just plain outrageous.

Flag Reply +43 rate up
9 replies
kmcc895370 June 27 2014 at 6:40 AM

What a BS non-story! They'll sink to any depths (no pun intended)just to have a space filled on here. there's the same amount of evidence for this story as there is for an alien abduction scenerio and LESS than for the Diego Garcia scenerio (which NO authorities will even whisper about).

Flag Reply +30 rate up
8 replies
dazedboy420 June 27 2014 at 7:13 AM

60 million mission they won't find the plane its not in the ocean..

Flag Reply +29 rate up
6 replies
Willliam June 27 2014 at 6:56 AM

Why is the media still reporting on what may have happened and how the passengers likely died. Everything is still speculative. We do not have any responsible reporting of news anymore. The professionals such as Walter Kronkite and Ed Bradley are long gone.

Flag Reply +20 rate up
3 replies
vegastwosome June 27 2014 at 9:11 AM

Typical AOL bullcrap . Writing a story about something they don't know or can't prove. Must have recieved their orders from the White House.The real stories about the Dictator not following Laws on the books are hidden by AOL and it's Left Wing Media.AOL is just an asswipe for the Democratc Party. What a shame.Wake up people!!!!!

Flag Reply +18 rate up
8 replies
aspman07 June 27 2014 at 6:38 AM

Add a comment...In other words, they still don't have a clue.

Flag Reply +14 rate up
3 replies
gcarlson007 June 27 2014 at 6:23 AM

Excuse me, but, isn't this "speculation"? Come on, I could give you more horror stories than that!

Flag Reply +14 rate up
4 replies
Nick Lo June 27 2014 at 6:13 AM

Within a week of this disaster, when rumors were rampant, my take was what I called the "Payne Stewart" syndrome (suffocation). Hit it right on the nose. Without all the tabloids.

Flag Reply +8 rate up
13 replies
David June 27 2014 at 6:47 AM

total speculation. Without a plane how can they possibly know. Educated guess at best.

Flag Reply +6 rate up
2 replies
lioness2go David June 27 2014 at 7:32 AM

The speculation never ends....if it bleeds, it leads. There is little real "journalism" in any news coverage these days thanks to the 24 hr cycle that must be filled with sound, not necessarily facts.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
bambi4318.barbara David June 27 2014 at 10:02 AM

I am questioning the "educated" part of your comment.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
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