Friday, March 14, 2014

Search area of missing jet to be expanded west

Malaysian government officials say the search area for the missing passenger jet will be expanded further west to the Indian Ocean.

The whereabouts of Malaysia Airlines' Boeing 777 is still unknown after it went missing early on Saturday. The jetliner was flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing carrying 239 passengers and crew.

The search now involves 57 vessels and 48 planes from 13 countries.

Two P3C patrol planes from Japan's Self-Defense Force are among the aircraft joining the search on Friday.

Ships and planes have been searching areas mainly in the South China Sea and the Strait of Malacca to the west of the Malay Peninsula.

Malaysian government officials say they cannot rule out the possibility that the missing plane flew westward after contact was lost. They base their statement on the analyses of military radars.

The officials say this prompted the government to include the Indian Ocean in their search.

Malaysia's government has also asked neighboring countries to look into whether their military radar records show any clues about the fate of the missing jetliner.