Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Search Expanded

Investigators are now widening their search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 to parts of the Indian Ocean and South China Sea following new clues.
Posted at 11:19 AM, Mar 14, 2014

Investigators are now widening their search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 after a week-long multinational probe turned up few clues on what may have happened to the passenger jet. 

Multiple reports out Thursday and Friday detail conflicting accounts of what may have happened prior to the Boeing 777's mysterious disappearance. However, U.S. officials say data from the missing plane has convinced them the plane's engines continued to run for at least four hours after all communication was lost. (Via CBS)

REPORTER: "That means the plane could have traveled up to 2,500 miles in any direction, a vast expanse of the globe that includes the Indian Ocean." (Via MSNBC)

Following that discovery, Malaysian officials now say they believe Flight 370 may have done just that — altering its flight path and heading west.

If that theory proves correct, that would put the flight up to 2,800 miles off course and in an area with no significant landmasses. Malaysian investigators have now asked the U.S. to expand its search west into the region. U.S. officials say they've already deployed a naval destroyer, the USS Kidd. (Via The Washington Post, ABC)

Meanwhile, Malaysia and other countries in southeast Asia are expanding their search north through the Philippines and into the South China Sea. (Via The Wall Street Journal)

The fact investigators are now expanding their searching, instead of refining it, is the latest twist in a case that has baffled authorities and the international community the last week.

Malaysia's Transport Minister said: “A normal investigation becomes narrower with time, as new information focuses the search ... But this is not a normal investigation. In this case, the information we have forces us to look further and further afield.” (Via Bloomberg)

And the longer the case goes on, the more suspicion grows about potential foul play or terrorism. To further complicate matters, CNN reports an Australian woman was allowed up into the cockpit during a flight two years ago by the same crew who piloted Flight 370.

"I was pretty surprised by it. I thought the fact that they were doing it must mean that it's something that happens quite often. I didn't realize how much against regulation it was." 

Letting passengers access the cockpit is illegal on U.S. carriers. However, international flights are subject to different regulations. Malaysia Airlines says it is "shocked" by the report, but has not had time to independently confirm the allegations amid the ongoing crisis.