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MH370 search area may double

April 17, 2015 6:41 pm

The search area for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 will be doubled if nothing is found in the current search zone, officials say.

The announcement came from Australian, Malaysian and Chinese ministers meeting to discuss operational progress.

The plane, flying from the Malaysian capital to Beijing, disappeared shortly after take-off on 8 March 2014.

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At the moment teams using sophisticated sonar equipment are scouring a 60,000 sq km (23,000 sq mile) area of seabed far west of the Australian city of Perth.

About 40 percent of this remains to be searched.

If nothing is found, the search will be extended by another 60,000 sq km to “cover the entire highest probability area identified by expert analysis”, a joint statement from the ministers said.

The additional search area could take up to a year to complete given adverse weather conditions in the upcoming winter months, the statement said.

Investigators still do not know what happened to the plane. The search zone has been defined based on analysis of hourly “handshakes” between the plane and a communications satellite.

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