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Search for missing Malaysian jet shifts to Indian Ocean

13 March 2014

Search for a missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner shifted to the Indian Ocean area on Thursday amidst confusing data provided by Malaysian authorities. India which joined the search yesterday also scaled up search operations along the Andaman and the Indian Ocean.

Malaysian authorities, meanwhile, denied a variety of reports related to the jet's disappearance and experts are looking at military radar data that seemed to indicate that the flight had turned west and remained airborne long after its last contact with ground controllers, reports said.

Malaysian aviation officials said Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 could have flown for several hours despite vanishing from radar, but they said they had received no engine-monitoring data indicating this, saying that the data for suggesting an extended flight didn't exist.

After six days of confusion, acting transport minister Hishammuddin Hussein said at a briefing that he was aiming to set the record straight on what he described as "inaccurate reports.''

Malaysia's defence minister Hishammuddin Hussein, however, said the main search effort continued to be east of the Malaysian peninsula, in the Gulf of Thailand and the South China Sea.

A Vietnamese military helicopter on Monday flew over the Gulf of Thailand. Planes and copters from nine nations are scouring the waters near a Malaysia Airlines flight's last reported location.

American naval aircraft were also redeployed to the Strait of Malacca, west of Malaysia, as search turned westward.

Malaysian authorities, meanwhile, denied a report that the jetliner, a Boeing 777, had transmitted technical data after contact with the cockpit was lost around 1:30 am on Saturday morning, when the airplane was on course toward Beijing.

Chief executive of Malaysia Airlines, Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, said the last technical data received from Flight 370 came at 1:07 am on Saturday, when the aircraft was still in touch with ground controllers, and that it indicated no trouble with the plane.

''That was the last transmission,'' Ahmad Jauhari said at a news conference in Sepang, the location of the international airport serving Kuala Lumpur. ''It did not run beyond that.''

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