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March 28th, 2014
10:29 PM ET

Search ships arrive at new debris site, but still no confirmation of Flight 370's end

(CNN) - Three weeks after Malaysia Airlines Flights 370 set off from Kuala Lumpur, search aircraft set off Saturday from Australia - hoping to, finally, find the Boeing 777 in the southern Indian Ocean where experts now believe it ended up.

The area that search teams - including a Chinese Ilyushin IL-76 and an Australian P-3 Orion that set off Saturday morning from Perth - are now focusing on is 1,100 kilometers (680 miles) to the northeast from where they'd been concentrating for more than a week, and it's closer to the Australian coast. This change is thanks to a new analysis of satellite data that Australian authorities say show the commercial airliner could not have flown as far south as once thought.

Saturday's renewed search comes days after Japan and Thailand both said they'd sent new satellite images to Malaysia showing debris fields that could be related to the plane, which vanished with 239 people aboard.

Air Vice-Marshal Kevin Short, commander of Joint Forces New Zealand, told CNN's Erin Burnett five of the dispatched aircraft "located debris in their search area" on Friday. Some of the spottings were "hundreds of miles away" from each other, although Short said this vast expanse is "not unusual" given the ocean conditions and the time passed since the airplane's purported crash.

That includes 11 small objects spotted by one of his military's P-3 planes. CNN's Kyung Lah, who went out on a U.S. Navy P-8 search plane Friday, said the crew of that plane spotted white objects, orange rope and a blue bag.

"At one point, sure, everybody on board got a little excited, but it's impossible to tell from that distance what anything is," she said.

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soundoff (One Response)
  1. Stephen Hill

    Everyone seems to be operating under the assumption that flight 370 flew until it ran out of fuel but why aren't we searching at the location of the last "Partial Ping". I have not seen this location on any of your CNN maps....where is it in relation to the existing search area?

    March 31, 2014 at 6:05 pm | Reply

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