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Search area bigger than Australia

DESPERATE: A relative of a passenger on board the missing Malaysia Airlines jet writing a message in Beijing yesterday. The message reads: "For our families: hunger protest, give back our families, we need the truth.


    Mar 19, 2014

    Search area bigger than Australia


    MALAYSIA yesterday said the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines passenger jet now encompasses an area slightly larger than the entire land mass of Australia.

    "The entire search area is now 2.24 million square nautical miles," Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said at a daily press briefing.

    The search and rescue operations for Flight MH370 - which went missing on March 8 - have been narrowed over the past 24 hours, with Indonesia and Australia leading the search of a southern corridor, and China and Kazakhstan leading that of a northern corridor.

    "This is an enormous search area. And it is something that Malaysia cannot possibly search on its own," Mr Hishammuddin said.

    All possibilities were still being looked at, the authorities said as theories on how the jetliner could have disappeared proliferated.

    Earlier, a report in The New York Times said the turn that diverted the missing plane from its flight path was programmed into the aircraft's computer navigation system, probably by someone in the cockpit.

    That reinforces the increasing belief among investigators that the aircraft was deliberately diverted, the newspaper said, quoting United States officials.

    Checks on everyone on board have, so far, failed to find anyone with a known political or criminal motive to crash or hijack the plane.

    Eleven days after contact was lost with the aircraft and its 239 passengers and crew, there has been minimal progress in determining precisely what happened or where the plane ended up.

    Desperate relatives of Chinese passengers aboard Flight MH370 threatened to go on hunger strike yesterday as they demanded answers about the missing aircraft from Malaysian officials.

    "Now we have no news, and everyone is understandably worried. The relatives say they will go to the (Malaysian) embassy to find the ambassador," said Mr Wen Wancheng, whose son was aboard the missing flight.