"The aircraft is still missing, and the search area is expanding," he said. "Together with our international partners, we are pushing further east into the South China Sea and further into the Indian Ocean."
As world awaits potential clues to plane's mysterious disappearance, US officials helping in efforts to trace the plane on Friday said they are shifting their search to the Indian Ocean region. "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 in Washington.
"And we are consulting with international partners about the appropriate assets to deploy," he said without specifying the nature of the new information. The move to expand the search to the Indian Ocean came after the US' defense and aviation experts said that there was a significant probability of the plane to be at the bottom of the Indian Ocean. "The US P-3 will search west of the Strait of Malacca in the Andaman Sea," Pentagon spokesman Lt Col Jeffrey Pool said. USS Kidd - a guided-missile destroyer - which was initially deployed to the Gulf of Thailand is now transiting from the Strait of Malacca to the Indian Ocean, the US Navy said.
A US official briefing on search said that the flight sent signals to a satellite for four hours after the aircraft went missing, Washington Post reported. The US official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the Boeing 777-200 wasn't transmitting data to the satellite, but was instead sending out a signal to establish contact. "If the two engines on the Boeing 777 functioned for up to four additional hours, that could strengthen concern that a rogue pilot or hijacker took control of the plane early Mar. 8 over the Gulf of Thailand," the paper said. Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal said communication satellites received intermittent data "pings" from the missing jet, giving the plane's location, speed and altitude for at least five hours after it disappeared from radar screens.
The final satellite ping was sent from over water, at what one of these people called a "normal" cruising altitude. Noting that it is unclear why the transmissions stopped, the daily reported that one possibility could be