A private company declared that it has found what it believes is wreckage of a plane in the ocean, but leaders of the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 are dismissing the claim.
The reasons for the skepticism are obvious - the site where GeoResonance says it found the wreckage, in the Bay of Bengal, is several thousand miles away from the current search area in the southern Indian Ocean.
The Joint Agency Coordination Centre, which is coordinating the multinational search, dismissed the claim.
"The Australian-led search is relying on information from satellite and other data to determine the missing aircraft's location," the JACC said.
"The location specified by the GeoResonance report is not within the search arc derived from this data. The joint international team is satisfied that the final resting place of the missing aircraft is in the southerly portion of the search arc."
Malaysian acting Transportation Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said Malaysia "is working with its international partners to assess the credibility of this information."
GeoResonance said it analyzes super-weak electromagnetic fields captured by airborne multispectral images.
"The company is not declaring this is MH370, however it should be investigated," GeoResonance said in a statement.
The company's director, David Pope, said he did not want to go public with the information at first, but his information was disregarded.
"We're a large group of scientists, and we were being ignored, and we thought we had a moral obligation to get our findings to the authorities," he told CNN's "New Day" on Tuesday.
GeoResonance's technology was created to search for nuclear, biological and chemical weaponry under the ocean or beneath the earth in bunkers, Pope said.
The company began its search four days after the plane went missing and sent officials initial findings on March 31, Pope said. It followed up with a full report on April 15.
By going public, the company says it hopes it will spur officials to take its claim seriously.
Malaysian authorities contacted GeoResonance on Tuesday and were "very interested, very excited" about the findings, Pope said.
On Tuesday, Malaysian officials briefed family members in Beijing on the latest developments in the search for missing Flight 370.
In that meeting, authorities shared never-before released audio of Malaysia Flight 370's final conversation with a control tower in Kuala Lumpur, as well as an official timeline of communication between radar stations and Flight 370.
Here is that timeline as reported by CNN's Ivan Watson:
12:41 AM: The plane took off
2:03 AM: Malaysian Airlines Operational Dispatch Center sent a message to the plane requesting the cockpit contact ground control in Ho Chi Minh,Vietnam. No reply from cockpit
2:22 AM: Last time MH370 appeared on Royal Malaysia Air Force radar
6:30 AM: The time when MH370 was scheduled to land at Beijing airport
7:13 AM: Malaysian Airlines Operational Dispatch Center made a call to MH370. They didn't get an answer
8:19 AM: MH370 made a last and final "partial handshake" with Inmarsat satellite
A FAMILY MEMBER RESPONDS:
Sara Bajc, partner of Flight 370 passenger Philip Wood, said while this information was a great first step, "transcripts or recordings don’t really help us find the airplane."
Bajc said the families will continue to press Malaysian officials for raw data and not just their analysis of the data.
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Relatives of Chinese passengers have been furious over the perceived lack of information given by Malaysian authorities.
But on Tuesday, Malaysian officials briefed scores of family members in Beijing and played never-before released audio of the plane's final chatter with a control tower.
"Malaysia three seven zero contact Ho Chi Min 120.9, good night," says a voice identified by Malaysian officials as that of a radar controller in Kuala Lumpur.
"Good night Malaysian three seven zero," answers a male voice believed to be a crew member on board.
Officials also showed family members maps of the flight's route, including a questionable turn at Penang over the Strait of Malacca. That turn sent the plane veering far off course.
Malaysia Airlines representative Subas Chandran said the plane likely ran out of fuel about seven-and-a-half hours into the flight.
Such details, while sobering, were welcomed by relatives.
"They are making progress," said Jimmy Wang, a member of the families' committee aimed at seeking answers.
We'll share the audio and have more details about the search on "New Day" at 6am ET.
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