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Report: MH370 plunged rapidly

SYDNEY (Reuters) – A new report into missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 says that additional analysis of satellite communications from the aircraft was consistent with it being in a “high and increasing rate of descent” when it vanished.

The report by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), which is leading the search for MH370, said additional analysis of wing flap debris found the aircraft was not configured for a landing.

Both pieces of information support the agency’s long-held view that an unpiloted MH370 descended rapidly after running out of fuel with no human intervention.

The 28-page report released on Wednesday, containing new end-of-flight and drift simulations, coincides with the start of a three-day meeting of international experts to develop potential plans to continue the search for MH370.

The Boeing 777 disappeared on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in March 2014 with 239 passengers and crew on board, sparking a two-and-a-half year search that has focused on the Indian Ocean.

Authorities from Malaysia, Australia, and China initially expected to finish searching a 120,000 sq km (46,000 sq mile) target area by the end of 2016, but bad weather has delayed the probe by another two months.

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