A new study of the flight data from the missing MH370 aircraft found the plane appeared to be out of control when it crashed – rather than being deliberately glided – and that the pilot had not prepared the wing flaps for landing.
Flight MH370 disappeared in March 2014 en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur with 239 passengers and crew onboard in one of the world's greatest aviation mysteries.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) report was released on Wednesday. It said analysis of wing flap debris showed the aircraft was not configured for a landing.
It also said satellite communications from the aircraft were consistent with it being in a "high and increasing rate of descent" when it vanished, colloquially known as a death dive.
Authorities assume the plane had no "inputs" during its final descent. Meaning there was no pilot or no conscious pilot. They believe it was on auto-pilot and spiraled when it ran out of fuel.
If a pilot had been at the controls, he would have extending the wing flaps to allow the aircraft to travel safely at slower speeds, in preparation for a crash landing.
There are now more than 20 items of debris of interest to investigators. It includes seven that have been examined and determined to have come from MH370. All were found on coastlines of the western Indian Ocean, including Madagascar, Mauritius, Réunion and Rodrigues.
Authorities won't finish scouring the final 10,000 square kilometres of the 120,000sq/km search zone area until January. It is because of difficult weather conditions.
The report was released as international aviation experts began meeting in Canberra to discuss if it is possible to redefine the search zone.
Further searches beyond the current zone would cost about £20 million.