Search area for Malaysian jet expanded to 2.24 mn sq nautical miles

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The search and rescue operation for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 has taken a new international dimension and the area has been to cover 2.24 million square nautical miles, said Malaysian official on Tuesday.

Official said the searches are happening in territories beyond Malaysia and the focus is now on huge areas over central asia and Indian ocean. The Malaysain government have requested other countries to come forward and help them.

China deployed 21 satellites to scour its territory for a missing Malaysian jetliner, while Australia said it had drastically narrowed its sector of the search area but was still looking in an expanse of ocean the size of Spain and Portugal.

Malaysia said it had conferred with the US and Chinese ministers on the search for Malaysian flight, an unprecedented 26-nation operation that now spans Asia from the Caspian Sea to the southern Indian Ocean.

Investigators are convinced that someone with deep knowledge of the Boeing 777-200ER and commercial navigation diverted the jet, carrying 12 crew and 227 mainly Chinese passengers, perhaps thousands of miles off its scheduled course from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

But intensive background checks of everyone aboard have so far failed to find anyone with a known political or criminal motive to crash or hijack the plane, Western security sources and Chinese authorities said.

China has begun to search for MH370 in Chinese territory, which falls within the northern search corridor, said state news agency Xinhua, and Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a daily news conference that 21 satellites were involved.

“In accordance with Malaysia’s request, we are mobilizing satellites and radar to search over the Chinese section of the northern corridor which the Malaysians say the plane may have flown over,” he said.

Australia, which is leading the southernmost leg of the search, said it had shrunk its search field based on satellite tracking data and analysis of weather and currents, but that it still covered 600,000 sq km (230,000 sq miles).

“A needle in a haystack remains a good analogy,” John Young, general manager of the emergency response division of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), told reporters.

“The aircraft could have gone north or south, and if it went south, this is AMSA’s best estimate of where we should look with the few resources we have at our disposal for such a search.”