Crews narrow corridors for search of missing Malaysia Airlines plane

March 18, 2014 at 9:28 AM
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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, March 18 (UPI) -- Search operations for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 have narrowed two search corridors to the north and to the south, Malaysian officials said Tuesday.

Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said Indonesia and Australia were leading efforts in the southern corridor while China and Kazakhstan headed up the northern corridor, the (Malaysia) Star reported.

Hishammuddin, also Malaysia's defense minister, said nine countries that weren't along the corridors were assisting in the search that covers 2.24 million square nautical miles.

The hunt for the missing jetliner entered its 11th day Tuesday. Malaysia revealed that the last words heard from the cockpit came from the co-pilot, Fariq Abdul Hamid, but could not say whether he signed off before or after an automated communications system was disabled.

The Boeing 777-200 went off the radar March 8 about an hour after departing for Beijing from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with 227 passengers and 12 crew members. So far the search has turned up nothing.

During the weekend, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said his government believed the plane was diverted because its transponder and other communications devices were turned off manually several minutes apart, the New York Times reported.

Chinese media outlets said China's ambassador to Malaysia, Huang Huikang, said the Chinese government had ruled out suspicions of terrorism concerning the Chinese on board, who made up about two-thirds of the passengers.

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