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New search area for MH370

AAP logoAAP 20/12/2016

Experts have called for the search zone for missing flight MH370 to be extended to an unsearched 25,000 kilometre square area in the southern Indian Ocean.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau released findings from a first principles review on Tuesday after Australian and international experts gathered in Canberra last month to assess all evidence.

"There is a high degree of confidence that the previously identified underwater area searched to date does not contain the missing aircraft," the report said.

The final stages of the 120,000 square kilometre search in the southern Indian Ocean off the Western Australian coast is expected to take until January or February to complete.

The experts have identified a new area of 25,000 km square north of the current search zone as having the "highest probability of containing the wreckage of the aircraft".

The Beijing-bound Malaysia Airlines flight disappeared with 239 passengers and crew shortly after taking off from Kuala Lumpur in March 2014.

Six Australians and 153 Chinese nationals were on board.

Transport Minister Darren Chester said the government was hopeful the aircraft will be located.

"Our thoughts remain with the families and loved ones of the 239 people on board," Mr Chester said.

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