Search efforts have shifted from South China Sea to Indian Ocean
The Malaysian jetliner that disappeared nearly a week ago with 239 passengers on board, may have flown for about five extra hours after losing contact with controllers and disappearing from the radar, investigators have said.
A massive search for the plane, undertaken by more 10 countries, has yielded no leads.
The focus of efforts has shifted from South China Sea to Indian Ocean as authorities expand search amid conflicting information.
Investigators say they believe the plane was sending automated signals to a satellite system long after radar contact was lost, the BBC reported.
This would mean the jet could have flown more than 1,600km beyond its last confirmed position.
The plane was supposed to be flying to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur. It made the last contact with air traffic control over the South China Sea to the east of Malaysia.
However, the BBC said a satellite system operated by London-based telecommunications company Inmarsat received an automated signal from flight MH370 at least five hours after the plane was reported lost
On Friday, US surveillance teams were sent to the Indian Ocean, much further west than the initial searches. Flight MH370 vanished last Saturday.
The Associated Press and Wall Street Journal had earlier quoted unnamed officials as saying that the Boeing 777 was contacting satellites for hours after its last contact with air traffic controllers.
The US – one of a number of countries helping to search for the plane – has sent a navy destroyer and a sophisticated surveillance aircraft to the Indian Ocean.
There were also reports that investigators were looking into whether the jet was stolen by pirates.
The UK Daily Mail quoted US officials as saying evidence suggests plane’s locators were turned off and it could have landed following “act of piracy”.
Plane may have been deliberately flown across Malay Peninsula, the paper quoted sources as saying.
The report said military radar-tracking evidence reportedly suggests it was heading towards the Andaman Islands
Search efforts being stepped up in the Andaman Sea and Indian Ocean.
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