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Search for missing plane ‘intensifying’

 

The search in the Indian Ocean for a jetliner that has been missing for two weeks is “intensifying,” according to the airline that was operating the vanished flight.

Malaysia Airlines said Friday that Australian officials were stepping up their efforts to locate debris that was captured by satellite images in the water that its leaders think could be related to the disappearance of the Malaysia Air’s Flight 370.

The flight was last seen by air traffic controllers on March 8. The airplane was a Boeing 777 carrying 239 passengers at the time of its disappearance.

“Search efforts southwest of Perth continue, and the Australian authorities are intensifying their efforts in the area,” Malaysia Air said in a statement.

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The airline said ships and helicopters from Australia, China, Japan and the U.S. were en route to the area where the satellite images were captured.

“HMAS Success is due to reach the vicinity of the objects tomorrow,” the company said. “China has deployed 5 ships and 3 ship-borne helicopters, which are currently heading toward the southern corridor. Three Chinese aircraft (2 Ilyushin IL-76s and 1 Shaanxi Y-8) arrived in Malaysia at 11:00 this morning. They will also be searching in the southern corridor. Japan is deploying its assets to Perth, including 2 P-3 Orions, to assist with the Australian search efforts.” 

The revelation of the satellite images by Australian officials was the first potential break in the search for Malaysia Air Flight 370 in two weeks.

The plane was last contacted by air traffic controllers about an hour into its flight from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing. 

Initial search and rescue efforts were concerted on waters in the Gulf of Thailand, where the plane’s pilots last contacted air traffic controllers.

Officials later came to believe the plane continued flying for several hours with its radar equipment turned off, based on signals that were communicated via satellite by the jet’s engines.

The search area was expanded to a wide area over the Indian Ocean that was more than 1,000 miles from the original focal point for the missing plane. The area was later narrowed to a location in the Indian Ocean that is southwest of Perth, Australia after the announcement of the Australian satellite images.