Australia says planes now searching in new area for signs of Malaysian airliner

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Associated Press

Posted on March 28, 2014 at 3:32 AM

Updated Friday, Mar 28 at 3:36 AM

PERTH, Australia (AP) — Officials overseeing the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 say the effort to date has not been a waste of time, but they are shifting the focus nearly 700 miles to the northeast.

The decision is based on a new analysis of radar data that suggests the plane flew faster than thought and used up more fuel, which would have cut the distance it could have traveled before going down in the Indian Ocean.

The search area remains large: about 123,000 square miles. It's also closer to western Australia — and therefore easier for search crews to reach — and does not have the same harsh weather conditions as the old search location.

Satellite images had given searchers hope — now apparently false — that a debris field from the plane was in the earlier search area. But experts say there's a lot of debris in the ocean, and it's possible that the satellites detected real objects that were simply unrelated to the plane.

%@AP Links

304-a-15-(Geoffrey Thomas, aviation expert, Editor-in-Chief, AirlineRatings.com, in interview)-"very positive thing"-Aviation expert Geoffrey Thomas says the search zone for the missing Malaysian airliner has shifted 680 miles to the northeast. (27 Mar 2014)

<<CUT *304 (03/27/14)££ 00:15 "very positive thing"

306-a-14-(Neil Bennett, Australian Bureau of Meteorology, in interview)-"they were yesterday"-Neil Bennett of Australia Bureau of Meteorology says improved weather conditions should help in the search for the missing Malaysian airliner. ((refers to Thursday as 'yesterday')) (27 Mar 2014)

<<CUT *306 (03/27/14)££ 00:14 "they were yesterday"

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