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Thursday, June 26, 2014, 15:46
Search for missing Malaysian jet shifts further south
By Associated Press

 Search for missing Malaysian jet shifts further south
An aircraft of Malaysian Airline System taxis on the tarmac at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang in this February 26, 2007 file photo. (Photo / Reuters)

SYDNEY - Investigators looking into the disappearance of the Malaysia Airlines plane are confident the jet was on autopilot when it crashed in a remote stretch of the Indian Ocean, Australian officials said Thursday as they announced the latest shift in the search for the doomed airliner.

After analyzing data between the plane and a satellite, officials believe Flight 370 was on autopilot the entire time it was flying across a vast expanse of the southern Indian Ocean, Australian Transport Safety Bureau chief commissioner Martin Dolan said.

"Certainly for its path across the Indian Ocean, we are confident that the aircraft was operating on autopilot until it ran out of fuel,'' Dolan told reporters in Canberra.

"We couldn't accurately, nor have we attempted to, fix the moment when it was put on autopilot,'' Transport Minister Warren Truss said. "It will be a matter for the Malaysian-based investigation to look at precisely when it may have been put on autopilot.''

The latest nugget of information from the investigation into Flight 370 came as officials announced yet another change in the search area for the wreckage of the plane that vanished during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8 with 239 passengers and crew on board.

The new search area is located several hundred kilometers southwest of the most recent suspected crash site, about 1,800 kilometers off Australia's west coast, Dolan said. Powerful sonar equipment will scour the seabed for wreckage in the new search zone, which officials calculated by reanalyzing the existing satellite data.

 
 
 
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