FOR an agonising 1258 days, Biloela's Irene Burrows and her family have waited desperately for any clue that could help unravel the mystery behind the disappearance of flight MH370.
Irene's son Rodney and his wife Mary were among the 239 people on board the Malaysia Airlines flight that vanished en route to China in March 2014.
Yesterday brought a glimmer of hope with reports that startling new evidence has virtually pinpointed the location of the plane's likely resting place.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau released an explosive new report that effectively narrows the search zone for the missing plane down to an area half the size of Melbourne.
While Irene said she had not heard of the latest development when contacted by The Morning Bulletin, she welcomed the news and the prospect it could finally provide some closure for her family.
"I want it found so they can get the black box and can give us some idea of what happened," she said.
"It's not only for us and the other families directly affected. There's a lot of people out there who I'm sure would want some answers too."
Rodney and Mary Burrows boarded MH370 at Kuala Lumpur, set for a three-week holiday in China with long-time friends Bob and Cathy Lawton from Brisbane.
The plane vanished from radars over the ocean south of Vietnam not long after take-off.
Irene said it had been an emotional roller-coaster for her and husband George.
"It's been three and a half years. It's been such a long time but it still feels like yesterday," she said.
"It has certainly affected both mine and George's health. It has really knocked us about.
"I am still hopeful they will find it but I want it left out there, wherever that is. I just want them to retrieve the black box and find out what they can from it."
GeoScience Australia has been examining four satellite images taken in the weeks after the plane went missing in the area identified late last year as MH370's likely resting spot.
They found 12 objects in those images that they deemed man-made and 28 that they regard as possibly man-made.
The images were taken by a French Military satellite in late March 2014 but were discarded by authorities. The ATSB were not involved in the search at that time.
The drift modelling initially released late last year identified an area of 25,000sq km just outside the original search area.
Today's report combines a refinement of that drift modelling as well as the discarded satellite images to narrow the likely search zone down to an area of just 5000sq km.
As part of the latest report, all satellite imagery of the relevant new area came up for review.
The dimensions of the objects found in the satellite images are comparable with some of the debris items that washed up on African beaches.
Their location near the "7th arc" of the search zone makes them impossible to ignore, the report states.
The new plot is based on comprehensive drift modelling and testing - including the release of a real Boeing 777 flaperon to test the floating characteristics of the one belonging to MH370 recovered off the coast of Africa.
"We measured its drift characteristics after modifying it to match the damaged one retrieved from Ile de la Reunion," the report says.
"This work did not change our estimate of the most likely location of the impact - it just increased confidence in the modelling by explaining more easily the 29 July 2015 Ile de la Reunion flaperon discovery."
The researchers combined ocean current modelling with the satellite images, assessing the motion of wind and water in the Indian Ocean between March 8 and 24.
They've come up with a 'bracket' of locations based on these tested drift patterns, naming them West 1, West 2, East 1 and East 2. These locations straddle the arc from which MH370's transmitters were last detected.
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