Malaysia Airlines plane: Search turns to Andaman Sea

Kuala Lumpur: One of the largest search operations ever mounted in Asia resumes on Saturday as foreign experts examine information from satellites they hope will solve the mystery disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 with 239 people on board.

A week after the Boeing 777 vanished above the South China Sea authorities in Kuala Lumpur have expanded the search into the Andaman Sea and Indian Ocean after new but “inclusive” information obtained from the United States.

Unnamed sources in the US have been quoted as saying information relates to signals heard by satellites.

White House spokesman Jay Carney appeared to take Malaysian officials by surprise when he told a press briefing a new search area may be opened in the Indian Ocean.

But Malaysia’s defence minister Hishammuddin Hussein refused on Friday night to comment on the information, saying “as it is standard procedure, the investigation team will not publicly release information until it has been properly verified and corroborated".

He said the search was being extended “because we have not found anything”.

Mr Hishammuddin appeared to hint that some countries have not passed on all the information they have.

“Any new information should be passed to the investigation team in Malaysia in order to assist the investigation,” he said.

Mr Hishammuddin said Malaysia is sharing intelligence information that would not normally be shared because of the crisis situation.

For the plane to have reached the Andaman Sea it would have had to have flown hundreds of kilometres in the opposite direction from is scheduled flight path from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

But Mr Hishammuddin said the search would only be scaled down in the South China Sea if conclusive evidence emerged the plane was elsewhere.

Under pressure over false leads, misinformation and confusion, officials say Malaysia is not hiding any confirmed information and they hope satellite information will reveal how the plane vanished within two days.

The United States is sending the US Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd to the new search area, joining other ships and planes, including those from India.

The area includes the remote Andaman and Nicobar islands, at the juncture of the Bay of Bengal.

Malaysian authorities have ruled out two more oil slicks discovered in the South China as being from the plane.

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