PERTH, AUSTRALIA, MAR 28 – The search area for the lost Malaysian jetliner moved 1,100 kilometers (680 miles) to the northeast on Friday, as Australian officials said a new analysis of radar data suggests the plane had flown faster and therefore ran out of fuel more quickly than previously estimated.
One of nine planes searching the new area on Friday found objects, though the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said on Twitter that it would likely be on Saturday before one of the six ships on the way could follow up and determine whether the objects were plane wreckage . 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, which pilots had combed for the week, said John Young, manager of Australian Maritime Safety Authority emergency response division.
AMSA said the change in search areas came from new information based on continuing analysis of the radar data received soon after Malaysia Airlines 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.
The search area has changed several times since the plane vanished as experts analysed a frustratingly small amount of data from the aircraft, including the radar signals and “pings” that a satellite picked up for several hours after radar contact was lost.