The search, despite finding no new evidence of MH370’s whereabouts, helped to eliminate a large stretch of ocean as the location. The ATSB report said that meant the understanding of MH370’s location “is better now than it has ever been”.

“The underwater search has eliminated most of the high probability areas yielded by reconstructing the aircraft’s flight path and the debris drift studies conducted in the past 12 months have identified the most likely area with increasing precision,” the report said.

Following the underwater search, a re-analysis of satellite imagery had narrowed the plane’s likely resting place to an area of less than 25,000 square kilometres, the ATSB said.