November 26, 2014 / 3:43 AM / 3 years ago

Australia working on new drift modeling for MH370 wreckage

Graphics on a TV screen shows the current search area for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, during a media briefing at Dumas House in Perth April 9, 2014. REUTERS/Richard Polden

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia is working on new drift modeling to expand the geographical area in which wreckage from missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 may come ashore, the Australian search coordinator said on Wednesday.

Initial analysis had suggested that the first debris from the plane could come ashore on Indonesia’s Western Sumatra after about 123 days.

“We are currently working ... to see if we can get an updated drift model for a much wider area where there might be possibilities of debris washing ashore,” search coordinator Peter Foley told reporters in Canberra.

Foley said the research center was receiving reports at least once a week of debris washed up on the Australian coastline, but none has so far been identified as coming from the missing aircraft.

The drift modeling supplements an ongoing surface and underwater search for the plane, which disappeared over the remote Indian Ocean on March 8, with 239 people on board.

Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) Chief Commissioner Martin Dolan on Tuesday dismissed suggestions there was disagreement among the five groups that make up the international team - America’s Boeing Co, France’s Thales, US investigator the National Transportation Safety Board and the Australian Defence Science and Technology Organisation - on where to search.

The teams initially agreed an area about 600 kilometers long by 90 km wide west of Perth was most likely. A new report released last month specified two high-priority areas further to the south.

“There is no disagreement, just the deliberate application of differing analysis models,” Dolan said.

All five groups agree that MH370’s final resting place is near the “7th arc” a curve that stretches from about 1,000 km off Exmouth, Western Australia, to a point about 2,000 km southwest of Perth, Dolan said.

More than 6,900 sq km of sea floor has been searched so far.

(This story corrects the dateline to Sydney from Perth, and location of the press conference in the third paragraph to Canberra from Perth)

Reporting by Jane Wardell; Editing by Jeremy Laurence

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