Search for Malaysia Airlines Jet Expands Across Asia

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The search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has expanded to cover an impossibly vast swath of Asia extending from Kazakhstan to Australia, with Malaysia appealing for as many airplanes and ships as the world can provide.

A Malaysian well-wisher leaves a message on a banner at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. (Credit: Shamshahrin Shamsudin / European Pressphoto Agency / March 16, 2014)

The countries where the Boeing 777 and the 239 people aboard could have gone, based on a signal picked up by a satellite, stretch north and west from the plane’s last known location and include Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, China, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam and Thailand. Another arc stretches south and west between Indonesia and Australia and well into the Indian Ocean.

“We are looking at large tracts of land … as well as deep and remote oceans,” Malaysia’s acting transportation minister, Hishammuddin Hussein, said Sunday at a news conference in Kuala Lumpur, the capital.

Earlier search efforts focused on the flight path between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing, over the relatively shallow Gulf of Thailand, but investigators now think it is more likely the plane headed over the Indian Ocean, with an average depth of 13,000 feet.

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