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Australia says planes checking new search area

PERTH, Australia (AP) - Planes are searching a new area of the Indian Ocean for possible signs of the Malaysian airliner after a new analysis of radar data suggests the plane flew faster than thought and used up more fuel, which may have reduced the distance it traveled, Australia said Friday.

Based on the new information, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said it had shifted the search area for the jet that disappeared nearly three weeks ago to a region 1,100 kilometers (680 miles) to the northeast of where planes and ships had been trying to find any sign of it.

Four search planes were in the area Friday, and six ships were headed there, said John Young, manager of AMSA's emergency response division, adding they had moved on from the previous search area, some 2,500 kilometers southwest of Perth, Australia, the launching base for the search.

AMSA said the change in search areas came from new information based on continuing analysis of radar data between the South China Sea and the Strait of Malacca before radar contact was lost with Flight 370 early on March 8.

The analysis indicated the aircraft was travelling faster than previously estimated, resulting in increased fuel use and reducing the possible distance the aircraft could have flown into the Indian Ocean.

"This is our best estimate of the area in which the aircraft is likely to have crashed into the ocean," said Martin Dolan, chief commissioner of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.

The new search area is more than 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) north of an area in which apparently floating objects were spotted by Japanese, Thai and French satellites earlier this week. Most of the objects measured from about 1 meter (3 feet) to about 20 meters (65 feet).

Young said those satellite images "may or may not actually be objects," and acknowledged that the search had moved away from that previous area.

He said it not unusual to make such changes and dismissed questions that the earlier searches had been a wasted effort.

"This is the normal business of search and rescue operations - that new information comes to light, refined analyses take you to a different place," Young told reporters. "I don't count the original work as a waste of time."

The new area is 319,000 square kilometers (123,000 square miles) and about 1,850 kilometers (1,250 miles) west of Perth. The sea depth in the new area ranged from 2,000 meters (6,560 feet) to 4,000 meters (13,120 feet), Young said.

Australia's HMAS Success and five Chinese vessels were on their way, and that the Success was expected to arrive there late Saturday night, he added.

Strong winds and currents have made it difficult to pinpoint objects spotted so far, and the search has yet to produce any trace of the plane.

Malaysian officials said earlier this week that satellite data confirmed the plane crashed into the southern Indian Ocean.

Authorities are rushing to find any piece of the plane to help them locate the so-called black boxes, or flight data and voice recorders, that will help solve the mystery of why the jet, en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur, flew so far off-course. The battery in the black box normally lasts about a month.

For relatives of the 239 people aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, the various clues and failed searches so far have just added to their agonizing waits.

Wang Zhen, whose parents were aboard the missing plane, said in a telephone interview in Beijing that he was becoming exasperated.

"There is nothing I can do but to wait, and wait," he said. "I'm also furious, but what is the use of getting furious?"

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Vimala Nowlis March 28 2014 at 8:43 AM

So many countries wasted so much resources and so much time searching the South China Sea in the beginning of the search because the plane was supposed to be going to Beijing.
Why didn't the Thai officials release the information for several days that an unidentified plane flow over their territory?
Why was the plane headed for the Indian Ocean?
The families and friends can hope for all they want, but the plane is gone and no one is coming home.

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skypony0777 Vimala Nowlis March 28 2014 at 11:23 AM

Very well put. To me if they do not find it within 30 days it is gone for good. Not to sound cruel but life goes on. Have a service for the passengers and move on with life. It is a very deep ocean in that part of the world.

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Ghetto Cat March 28 2014 at 7:22 AM

I think I overheard one of the searchers chanting, "No news is good news."

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Hello Diane Ghetto Cat March 28 2014 at 8:03 AM

And we all know that "Bad news" sells magazines, newspapers, and leads to book deals, screen plays and movies!

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Ghetto Cat Hello Diane March 28 2014 at 8:37 AM

That is the worst part. It leads to celebtarding. I never heard of anything dumber than this new generation of celebs who have supposedly all killed somebody in exchange for fame. Premature aging is gross.

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stengernc March 28 2014 at 7:40 AM

Every trans ocean flight needs to have a transponder that cannot be turned off once the plane leaves the ground. Then it would be easy to trace the flight.

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2 replies
Les stengernc March 28 2014 at 7:58 AM

or just a battery-operated backup GPS in the tail, or somewhere like that. doesn't have to be anything fancy. a modified 'find me' app for airplanes.

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spikeus2 stengernc March 28 2014 at 7:59 AM

You have to be able to turn off components in an aircraft in case of fire, using a switch or by pulling a circuit breaker.

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Jean Karpinski March 28 2014 at 7:09 AM


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dvdom3 Jean Karpinski March 28 2014 at 7:28 AM

I agree that they may have not know what to do. But doesn't that govt have officials to warn them of a debacle of communication that they are a part of? The way they are communicating with the families, is adding more to their nightmare.

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abudotcom March 28 2014 at 8:16 AM

My heart goes out to all the families involved in this terrible story. I hope one of the so many "credible - possible - leads" brings closure to them, but this "story" has more holes that a wheel of swiss cheese.

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rgburrill March 28 2014 at 8:05 AM

These guys have no frikkin idea where this plane went. Every lead turns out wrong. Has anyone checked Mt Everest above 20000 feet?

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Georgie!! March 28 2014 at 8:07 AM

I'm not ENTIRELY convinced that it isn't still in a bunker somewhere. Hopefully all the people are alive. The world's a crazy place right now and NOTHING is beyond imagination of what some governments or radicals will do. Only time will tell.

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aheart4jc Georgie!! March 28 2014 at 8:23 AM

I agree Georgie whole heartedly !!!

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skypony0777 Georgie!! March 28 2014 at 10:55 AM

I agree in part. The only part I do not agree with you on is that the passengers are alive. If some nut group has the plane you can bet they killed all of the passengers as that would be to many people to try to contain some place and to feed them and everything would be next to impossible. Hopefully they died a painless death. Like maybe ssome kind of fast acting gas piped into the cabin to put them all asleep. This searcch is going to go on for a long time as no country wants to be 1st in saying they are calling off the search. There will be a time that the search will be called off but I think some how all countrys need to call it off at the same time...jointly. May they all rest in peace

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mike06215 March 28 2014 at 8:13 AM

The plane was deliberately blown up to prevent its two Muslim pilots to complete their suicide mission which was to crash the plane into a skyscraper in their country. We learned that after 911 that is the only way to stop these lunatics. It is too bad the passengers had to die. Of course the governments involved cannot admit this so they are playing game with these phony weather satellite photos. The real good photos can be made with spy satellites which can read a newspaper from 300 miles in space and can actually ready the letters and number on that junk floating in the ocean.

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Bedow March 28 2014 at 8:16 AM


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Rrachelrachel13TS Bedow March 28 2014 at 9:31 AM

If the plane was infact hijacked, then of course first order of business the hijackers would have done was kill all means of tracking. Hence forth the transponders being turned off. All one has to do to turn off GPS location of a cell phone is remove the batteries out of the phones. If whom ever took over the plane sure enough they didn't do it alone and would have help elsewhere on board the plane to secure devices as a cell phone/laptop. Anything anyone could use as communication with the outside world and keep passengers at bay from trying to stop those responsible for the hijack. But, thats just another theory and opinion from someone looking at this from the outside, as everyone else in the world trying to make sense of what trully happened. Then again, One must think where else in the world could the plane have landed with no one noticing a plane with the Maylasian Airline markings landing anywhere without being spotted by anyone for that matter. A plane of that size needs close to any area of at least 2miles worth of smooth landing area to land it. And then be able to hide it. That would be some major planing indeed.

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skypony0777 Rrachelrachel13TS March 28 2014 at 11:16 AM

If it went down in deep water I think you will find cell phones do not work, not even the gps part. I agree in your where could it land un-noticed...damn good question. Now if in a couple weeks another plane of 777 size goes down and not found this plane could be repainted and used to replace that flight number and route by some group wanting to crash it into a building, but you can still figure no matter what happened to the plane the passengers are dead either from a crash into the water or if hijacked by the people who took it as it would be next to impossible to contain them all and feed them. Also someone that would make a plan to reuse the plane in a bad way would not have any problem with killing that many people. Myself I feel it is laying in over 10,000 feet of waater and will never be found as it is to many places it could have went down. Maybe 50 years from now it might be stumbled on. It took France over 2 years to find their plane that went down.

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NoPaper7 March 28 2014 at 6:25 AM

My heart goes our to all people and our family is praying for resolvment of the missing Flight 370. There still maybe hope and if all is lost, we need to be thankful for the time we had with our loved ones.

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