Initial ocean current modelling results hoping to identify where debris from lost Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 may have ended up were incorrect, authorities investigating the disaster said on Wednesday.
Computer modelling originally indicated parts of the wreckage may have been carried towards Indonesia, but the recent discovery of a wing fragment on a beach of the French Island of Reunion in the western Indian Ocean proved the models were completely wrong.
However, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau - which is leading the extensive search operation - said the botched modelling conducted in July 2014 had no effect on the progress of the search efforts.
"While this error in that model had no impact on the way the surface search was conducted, it was important in order to understand over the course of time where debris might wash up and help verify or discount the various items found on beaches, particularly on the west coast of Australia," the ATSB said in a statement.
The models said debris had likely been carried to the north towards the coast of Sumatra from the area off the west coast of Australia where the plane likely came down.
Models run by Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation in November last year and updated last month found, however, that an Indonesia landfall was highly unlikely.
Reunion, where the wing fragment identified as certainly belonging to a Boeing 777 has been found, is about 3,700km to the west of the expected crash zone.
Oceanographers said the discovery was consistent with the movements of powerful ocean currents in the area.
Australia has sent an expert to Toulouse, France, to assist with the examination of the debris found last week. Officials have not yet confirmed whether the component, known as a flaperon, came from Flight MH370. However, as no other Boeing 777 is currently missing, any other origin is considered unlikely.
"Work is being undertaken by the Malaysian and French authorities to establish whether the flaperon originated from MH370," Warren Truss, deputy prime minister of Australia said.
"Malaysian and French officials may be in a position to make a formal statement about the origin of the flaperon later this week."
MH370 diverted from its route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on 8 March 2014 for reasons unknown. 239 people are believed to have died aboard the aircraft. Not a single trace of the plane has been found in months of surface and underwater search efforts.
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