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Friday, December 19, 2014, 2:02 a.m.
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Plane search spreads through Australia-sized zone

By The Associated Press

This article was originally published March 18, 2014 at 9:48 a.m. Updated March 18, 2014 at 10:58 a.m.

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Investigators trying to solve the mystery of a missing Malaysian jetliner received some belated help Tuesday from Thailand, whose military said it took 10 days to report radar blips that might have been the plane "because we did not pay attention to it."

A coalition of 26 countries, including Thailand, is looking for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which vanished March 8 with 239 people aboard on a night flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Search crews are scouring two giant arcs of territory amounting to the size of Australia, half of it in the remote seas of the southern Indian Ocean.

Cmdr. William Marks, a spokesman for the U.S. 7th Fleet, said finding the plane was like trying to locate a few people somewhere between New York and California.

Malaysian officials said early in the search that they suspected the plane backtracked and flew toward the Strait of Malacca, just west of Malaysia. But it took a week for them to confirm Malaysian military radar data that suggested that route. On Tuesday, Thai military officials said their own radar showed an unidentified plane, possibly Flight 370, flying toward the strait beginning minutes after the Malaysian jet's transponder signal was lost.

Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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