INVESTIGATORS searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370 may have made a crucial mistake which prevented them from discovering the crash site, according to a new report.

Debris from the aircraft was carried to shore by the currents (Image: GETTY)

A team of scientists from the UK, Germany and France suggested they could have downplayed the importance of surface ocean currents. Debris from the aircraft was carried to shore by the currents, known as Stokes drift. Analysis of objects washed ashore could have allowed the MH370 crash site to be located according to the study, published in the Journal of Operational Oceanography.

In total nine bits of debris from the stricken aircraft have washed up along western parts of the Indian Ocean.

However investigators failed to establish crucial information including how long they made landfall before being discovered, their exact buoyancy and how long they spent floating in coastal waters.

Lead investigator Dr Jonathan Durgadoo commented: “Ignoring Stokes drift in the simulations can lead to major errors, as we have demonstrated with the MH370 example.

“For any application where surface drift is studied, Stokes drift should be included to provide more precise tracking results.”

Nine bits of debris from MH370 washed up along western parts of the Indian Ocean (Image: GETTY)

Investigators had sought to calculate the path of the debris across the ocean, in order to find the crash site.

However they had insufficient information to do this effectively.

The study concluded that just five pieces of debris could allow a future crash site to be located, if enough details are recorded.

Dr Durgadoo added: “The different tracking approaches provide a robust methodology and enable an assessment of uncertainties.

“Ignoring Stokes drift in the simulations can lead to major errors” (Image: GETTY)

“These can be minimised by simulating sufficient numbers of virtual objects.”

“The exercise of estimating the surface drift of debris from MH370 has led to an improved preparedness for future applications.”

Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 went missing on March 2014 whilst flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

It had 227 passengers and 12 crew on board at the time.

This article was originally published at Daily.Express.co.uk