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New Malaysia plane search area turns up objects

By The Associated Press

This article was published March 28, 2014 at 8:00 a.m.

PERTH, Australia — Australian officials moved the search area for the lost Malaysian jetliner 680 miles to the northeast Friday, after a new analysis of radar data, and a plane quickly found objects that a ship set out to investigate.

A New Zealand military plane, one of nine aircraft hunting for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, found the objects Friday, though the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said on Twitter that it would likely be Saturday before one of the six ships on the way could and determine whether the objects were plane wreckage. The three-week hunt for the jet has been filled with possible sightings, with hundreds of objects identified by satellite and others by plane, but so far not a single piece of debris has been confirmed.

Australian officials said they turned away from the old search area, which they had combed for a week, because a new analysis of radar data suggests the plane had flown faster and therefore ran out of fuel more quickly than previously estimated. The new area is closer to land and has calmer weather than the old one, which will make searching easier.

"We have moved on" from the old search area, said John Young, manager of AMSA's emergency response division.

The radar data that was re-analyzed was received soon after Flight 370 lost communications and veered from its scheduled path March 8. The Beijing-bound flight carrying 239 people turned around soon after taking off from Kuala Lumpur, flew west toward the Malacca Strait and disappeared from radar.

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