Scientists have potentially narrowed the search area for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 to three specific locations in the southern Indian Ocean through new satellite and drift analysis of the 2014 crash released Wednesday, reports the AP. But the Australian Transport Safety Bureau cautioned that the drift analysis by Australian science agency CSIRO is based on French military satellite images of "probably man-made" floating objects without evidence that they were from the airliner. Still, the locations could provide potential starting points to search within a 9,700-square-mile expanse identified as the most likely resting place of the Boeing 777. That expanse adjoins the original search zone of 46,000 square miles identified through satellite analysis of the final hours of the flight.
The new analysis is based on satellite images gathered two weeks after Flight 370 vanished, taken near the original underwater search zone. Satellite experts at Geoscience Australia were not asked to analyze the images until March this year. They concluded that a dozen objects appeared to be man-made and might have originated from three potential crash sites. Malaysian Deputy Transport Minister Aziz Kaprawi says the civil aviation department would "need to verify the data to see if it's credible before we make any decision" on resuming the search for the plane, which ended in January. Texas company Ocean Infinity has offered to launch a private search with compensation coming only if it finds the plane. But Aziz says its "monetary terms" are unacceptable to the government. (Read more MH370 stories.)