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

Mar 28th, 2014 - International News

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.

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