New US lead thrusts Malaysia jet search into Indian Ocean

KUALA LUMPUR, March 14, 2014 (AFP) – The needle-in-a-haystack hunt for a missing Malaysian airliner spread to the vast Indian Ocean Friday after the White House cited “new information” that it might have flown for hours after vanishing nearly seven days ago.

Multiple US media reports, citing American officials, said the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777’s communication system continued to “ping” a satellite for a number of hours after it disappeared off radar with 239 people aboard, en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

“It’s my understanding that based on some new information that’s not necessarily conclusive, but new information, an additional search area may be opened in the Indian Ocean,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

A US Navy official told AFP that the USS Kidd was “transiting the Strait of Malacca en route to the Indian Ocean”. The guided-missile destroyer was initially deployed to the Gulf of Thailand on the other side of Malaysia’s coast.

It was the latest in a series of tantalising leads that have pulled the search for flight MH370 in multiple directions and deepened one of the biggest mysteries in modern aviation history.

Delhi-based aviation analyst Kapil Kak, a former Indian air marshal, called the situation “inexplic