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Missing plane Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 was plunging toward the sea with no one in control when it made its last satellite communication, new analysis reveals. A report released Wednesday by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau provided the clearest picture yet of the plane's final moments in March 2014.
According to end of flight simulations run by the Australian bureau, the plane was spiraling in its final moments, descending at up to 25,000 feet per minute (284 mph).
AirlineRatings.com aviation expert Geoffrey Thomas told CNN the report debunked theories that the pilot had been flying the plane when it landed in the sea. "The really important news in this report is that the flap found in Tanzania was stowed," he said, referring to the flaperon that washed up off the East African country in June. "Therefore there was no way this airplane was being flown by anyone. It was out of control, ran out of fuel and spiraled into the sea at high speed."
In July, New York magazine reported new evidence supported the theory that pilot suicide caused the plane's disappearance. The magazine quoted a leaked document from an FBI investigation that showed deleted files had been recovered from Zaharie's home-built flight simulator. They reportedly revealed he had plotted a course into the deep southern Indian Ocean -- a course that closely matched the final flight MH370 is thought to have taken. Investigators said the simulator files had been created just weeks before the jet disappeared, according to the document.
More than 20 items of debris have been brought to the attention of investigators, but only three have been confirmed as from MH370, including the flaperon mentioned in the new report.
So far, 110,000 square kilometers (42,000 square miles) have been covered as part of the underwater search for MH370, with the hunt currently due to conclude at 120,000 square kilometers (46,000 square miles). "Where they're looking is still the area where everyone agrees that's where the plane is," aviation expert Thomas said, adding there were slight disagreements in opinion.