MH370 went missing on March 8, 2014, en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board. A group of investigators called The Independent Group (IG) pinned down their search area to a patch in the south Indian Ocean, helped by the technology. According to 2015 book ‘The Plane That Wasn’t There’, Mike Exner – a member of the group – secured himself four hours on the high tech system in November 2014.
The group’s theory at the time was that the plane had run out of fuel, fell into a spiral dive and crashed into the sea.
Every time Mr Exner simulated the flight path of the plane under the assumption it had run out of fuel, MH370 would do the same thing – cementing the belief in their logic.
Aviation expert and author of ‘The Plane That Wasn’t There’ Jeff Wise said: “In early November, Mike Exner had managed to cage four hours in a top-of-the-line hyper-realistic flight simulator that one of the US Navy carriers used to train its pilots.
“Time and again he allowed the plane to run out of fuel and watched what happened.
“Each time, the plane fell into a deep spiral dive and impacted the surface within a few miles.”
Despite the certainty that this experience gave Mr Exner and the IG, their search area came up with nothing.
The Fugro Discovery began searching the seabed using side scan sonar in October 2014.
By the end of November, it had searched the area of interest to a width of several miles and still found nothing.
According to Mr Wise, this is when “self-doubt crept in” and there were mutterings that they may have made a calculation error.
On December 1, 2014, another IG member Victor Iannello admitted it was possible the group had made a “fundamental error”.
He commented: “As time goes on with no debris found, the probability of the end point in the current search zone decreases.”
He added: “With no debris found, we have to be open to the possibility of a fundamental error in our models and consider all options.”