News

Development comes as new fuel theory emerges Search zone shifted

The search for the missing Malaysia Airline plane has taken a new turn.

The Australian-led search for MH370, which disappeared on March 8, has moved 1,100km to the north-east.

This is because investigators have calculated that the plane was going faster, using up more fuel, than previously thought, The Guardian reported.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (Amsa) said the analysis was based on the plane's final radar contacts between the South China Sea and the Malacca Strait and that the plane would have used more fuel during the opening stages of its flight.

So it would not have gone as far into southern Indian Ocean, where the search has been focused so far.

The new location means patrol planes can spend more time over the search area. In addition, the weather there is better than the horrid conditions of the "roaring forties".

Said Mr John Young, general manger of Amsa's emergency response division: "We'll certainly get better time on scene.

"We started nearly 3,000km from Perth, so we've taken a lot off that."

REPROGRAMMING

Australia's Geospatial Intelligence Organisation is reprogramming satellites to take images of the new area.

Said Mr Young: "We'll see what that does in terms of satellite imagery when the retasking of satellite starts to produce new material as well."

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the "new and credible lead" had resulted in the search area being shifted to an area of 319,000 sq km centred on a point 1,850km west of Perth.

Meanwhile, the US said it was sending a second P-8 Poseidon patrol aircraft to Perth, but would not be sending a warship, AFP reported.

In addition, the commanding officer of Australia's HMAS Success, Captain Allison Norris, said she had instituted hourly shift changes to make sure crews' attention did not stray from scanning the ocean.

The warship is leading the seaborne search, which has been bolstered by the arrival of sensitive tracking equipment.

The equipment will help locate the plane's "black box", offering a glim-
mer of hope in what has become the biggest mystery in commercial aviation history.

China travel agencies stop MAS ticket sales

China's online travel agencies have stopped selling tickets for Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flights.

Hong Kong newspaper South China Morning Post reported that many of China's top agencies said they will boycott the airline until it "gets to the bottom of the truth about Flight MH370".

Agencies which no longer provide MAS flights as an option include leading agencies eLong, LY.com and Qunar.

Relatives of the Chinese passengers aboard the flight have demanded China start its own inquiry into the disappearance, a letter shows.

The document, sent to Beijing's special envoy in Kuala Lumpur, denounced Malaysia's handling of the search and asked the Chinese government to set up its own "investigation office", AFP reported.