AM 720 KDWN
News, Traffic, Weather

Australia says planes checking new search area

KDWN

PERTH, Australia (AP) — The search area for the lost Malaysian jetliner moved 1,100 kilometers (680 miles) to the northeast on Friday, as Australian officials said a new analysis of radar data suggests the plane had flown faster and therefore ran out of fuel more quickly than previously estimated.

That means searchers have concluded that hundreds of floating objects detected over the last week by satellite, previously considered possible wreckage, weren’t from the plane after all. But there are advantages to the new search area: It’s closer to land and has calmer weather than the old one.

Nine planes were to fly over the new search area Friday and six ships were headed there, said John Young, manager of Australian Maritime Safety Authority emergency response division. “We have moved on” from the previous search area, he said.

AMSA said the change in search areas came from new information based on continuing analysis of the radar data received soon after Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 lost communications and veered from its scheduled path March 8. The Beijing-bound flight carrying 239 people turned around soon after taking off from Kuala Lumpur, flew west toward the Malacca Strait and disappeared from radar.

The search area has changed several times since the plane vanished as experts analyzed a frustratingly small amount of data from the aircraft, including the radar signals and “pings” that a satellite picked up for several hours after radar contact was lost.

The latest analysis indicated the aircraft was traveling faster than previously estimated, resulting in increased fuel use and reducing the possible distance the aircraft could have flown before going down in the Indian Ocean. Just as a car loses gas efficiency when driving at high speeds, a plane will get less out of a tank of fuel when it flies faster.

Planes and ships had spent a week searching about 2,500 kilometers (1,550 miles) southwest of Perth, Australia, the base for the search. Now they are searching about 1,850 kilometers (1,150 miles) west of the city.

“This is our best estimate of the area in which the aircraft is likely to have crashed into the ocean,” Martin Dolan, chief commissioner of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, said at a news conference in Canberra.

He said a wide range of scenarios went into the calculation. “We’re looking at the data from the so-called pinging of the satellite, the polling of the satellites, and that gives a distance from a satellite to the aircraft to within a reasonable approximation,” he said. He said that information was coupled with various projections of aircraft performance and the plane’s distance from the satellites at given times.

Dolan said the search now is for surface debris to give an indication of “where the main aircraft wreckage is likely to be. This has a long way to go.”

The new search area is about 80 percent smaller than the old one, but it remains large: about 319,000 square kilometers (123,000 square miles), about the size of Poland.

Sea depths in the new area range from 2,000 meters (6,560 feet) to 4,000 meters (13,120 feet), Young said. There are trenches in the area that go even deeper, Australia’s national science agency said in a statement. That includes the Diamantina Trench, which is up to 7,300 meters deep, but it was unclear whether the deepest parts of the trench are in the search area.

Young such a change in search area is not unusual.

“This is the normal business of search and rescue operations – that new information comes to light, refined analyses take you to a different place,” Young told reporters. “I don’t count the original work as a waste of time.”

He said the new search zone, being about 700 kilometers (434 miles) closer to mainland Australia, will be easier to reach. Planes used so much fuel getting to the old search area that had only about two hours of spotting time per sortie.

The new area also has better weather conditions than the old one, where searches were regularly scrapped because of storms, high winds and low visibility.

“The search area has moved out of the `roaring 40s,’ which creates very adverse weather,” Young said, referring to the latitude of the previous search area. “I’m not sure that we’ll get perfect weather out there, but it’s likely to be better than we saw in the past.”

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Friday that the latest information was “a credible new lead.”

“This is an extraordinarily difficult search, and an agonizing wait for family and friends of the passengers and crew,” he said. “We owe it to them to follow every credible lead and to keep the public informed of significant new developments. That is what we are doing.”

Australia’s HMAS Success was expected to arrive there Saturday, Young added. The Chinese Maritime Safety Administration patrol boat Haixun 01 was also on site, and several more Chinese ships were on their way.

Malaysian officials said earlier this week that satellite data confirmed the plane crashed into the southern Indian Ocean.

Authorities are rushing to find any piece of the plane to help them locate the so-called black boxes, or flight data and voice recorders, that will help solve the mystery of why the jet, en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur, flew so far off-course. The battery in the black box normally lasts for at least a month.

Officials are already preparing for the hunt for the black box. A special U.S. Navy towed pinger locator and Bluefin-21 Autonomous Underwater Vehicle are to be fitted onto an Australian vessel, the Ocean Shield, when it reaches a port near Perth in a day or two, said a government the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

He did not say how long it would take to reach the search area.

An Australian government statement said three plane crash investigators from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau will be aboard Ocean Shield to assist with the search. The investigators have technical expertise in maritime operations, flight data recorders, and materials and aerospace engineering, the statement said.

The official said the Chinese ships are also expected to have acoustic sensors that can listen for black box pingers.

For relatives of those missing, the various clues and failed searches so far have just added to their agonizing waits.

Wang Zhen, whose parents were aboard the missing plane, said in a telephone interview in Beijing that he was becoming exasperated.

“There is nothing I can do but to wait, and wait,” he said. “I’m also furious, but what is the use of getting furious?”

If and when any bit of wreckage from Flight 370 is recovered and identified, searchers will be able to narrow their hunt for the rest of the Boeing 777 and its flight data and cockpit voice recorders.

Ng reported from Kuala Lumpur. Associated Press writers Scott McDonald and Gillian Wong in Kuala Lumpur, Kristen Gelineau in Sydney, Rod McGuirk in Canberra, Australia, and Nick Perry in Wellington, New Zealand, contributed to this report.

Australia says planes checking new search area

KDWN

PERTH, Australia (AP) — The search area for the lost Malaysian jetliner moved 1,100 kilometers (680 miles) to the northeast on Friday, as Australian officials said a new analysis of radar data suggests the plane had flown faster and therefore ran out of fuel more quickly than previously estimated.

That means searchers have concluded that hundreds of floating objects detected over the last week by satellite, previously considered possible wreckage, weren’t from the plane after all. But there are advantages to the new search area: It’s closer to land and has calmer weather than the old one.

Nine planes were to fly over the new search area Friday and six ships were headed there, said John Young, manager of Australian Maritime Safety Authority emergency response division. “We have moved on” from the previous search area, he said.

AMSA said the change in search areas came from new information based on continuing analysis of the radar data received soon after Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 lost communications and veered from its scheduled path March 8. The Beijing-bound flight carrying 239 people turned around soon after taking off from Kuala Lumpur, flew west toward the Malacca Strait and disappeared from radar.

The search area has changed several times since the plane vanished as experts analyzed a frustratingly small amount of data from the aircraft, including the radar signals and “pings” that a satellite picked up for several hours after radar contact was lost.

The latest analysis indicated the aircraft was traveling faster than previously estimated, resulting in increased fuel use and reducing the possible distance the aircraft could have flown before going down in the Indian Ocean. Just as a car loses gas efficiency when driving at high speeds, a plane will get less out of a tank of fuel when it flies faster.

Planes and ships had spent a week searching about 2,500 kilometers (1,550 miles) southwest of Perth, Australia, the base for the search. Now they are searching about 1,850 kilometers (1,150 miles) west of the city.

“This is our best estimate of the area in which the aircraft is likely to have crashed into the ocean,” Martin Dolan, chief commissioner of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, said at a news conference in Canberra.

He said a wide range of scenarios went into the calculation. “We’re looking at the data from the so-called pinging of the satellite, the polling of the satellites, and that gives a distance from a satellite to the aircraft to within a reasonable approximation,” he said. He said that information was coupled with various projections of aircraft performance and the plane’s distance from the satellites at given times.

Dolan said the search now is for surface debris to give an indication of “where the main aircraft wreckage is likely to be. This has a long way to go.”

The new search area is about 80 percent smaller than the old one, but it remains large: about 319,000 square kilometers (123,000 square miles), about the size of Poland.

Sea depths in the new area range from 2,000 meters (6,560 feet) to 4,000 meters (13,120 feet), Young said. There are trenches in the area that go even deeper, Australia’s national science agency said in a statement. That includes the Diamantina Trench, which is up to 7,300 meters deep, but it was unclear whether the deepest parts of the trench are in the search area.

Young such a change in search area is not unusual.

“This is the normal business of search and rescue operations – that new information comes to light, refined analyses take you to a different place,” Young told reporters. “I don’t count the original work as a waste of time.”

He said the new search zone, being about 700 kilometers (434 miles) closer to mainland Australia, will be easier to reach. Planes used so much fuel getting to the old search area that had only about two hours of spotting time per sortie.

The new area also has better weather conditions than the old one, where searches were regularly scrapped because of storms, high winds and low visibility.

“The search area has moved out of the `roaring 40s,’ which creates very adverse weather,” Young said, referring to the latitude of the previous search area. “I’m not sure that we’ll get perfect weather out there, but it’s likely to be better than we saw in the past.”

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Friday that the latest information was “a credible new lead.”

“This is an extraordinarily difficult search, and an agonizing wait for family and friends of the passengers and crew,” he said. “We owe it to them to follow every credible lead and to keep the public informed of significant new developments. That is what we are doing.”

Australia’s HMAS Success was expected to arrive there Saturday, Young added. The Chinese Maritime Safety Administration patrol boat Haixun 01 was also on site, and several more Chinese ships were on their way.

Malaysian officials said earlier this week that satellite data confirmed the plane crashed into the southern Indian Ocean.

Authorities are rushing to find any piece of the plane to help them locate the so-called black boxes, or flight data and voice recorders, that will help solve the mystery of why the jet, en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur, flew so far off-course. The battery in the black box normally lasts for at least a month.

Officials are already preparing for the hunt for the black box. A special U.S. Navy towed pinger locator and Bluefin-21 Autonomous Underwater Vehicle are to be fitted onto an Australian vessel, the Ocean Shield, when it reaches a port near Perth in a day or two, said a government the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

He did not say how long it would take to reach the search area.

An Australian government statement said three plane crash investigators from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau will be aboard Ocean Shield to assist with the search. The investigators have technical expertise in maritime operations, flight data recorders, and materials and aerospace engineering, the statement said.

The official said the Chinese ships are also expected to have acoustic sensors that can listen for black box pingers.

For relatives of those missing, the various clues and failed searches so far have just added to their agonizing waits.

Wang Zhen, whose parents were aboard the missing plane, said in a telephone interview in Beijing that he was becoming exasperated.

“There is nothing I can do but to wait, and wait,” he said. “I’m also furious, but what is the use of getting furious?”

If and when any bit of wreckage from Flight 370 is recovered and identified, searchers will be able to narrow their hunt for the rest of the Boeing 777 and its flight data and cockpit voice recorders.

Ng reported from Kuala Lumpur. Associated Press writers Scott McDonald and Gillian Wong in Kuala Lumpur, Kristen Gelineau in Sydney, Rod McGuirk in Canberra, Australia, and Nick Perry in Wellington, New Zealand, contributed to this report.

Australia says planes checking new search area

KDWN

PERTH, Australia (AP) — The search area for the lost Malaysian jetliner moved 1,100 kilometers (680 miles) to the northeast on Friday, as Australian officials said a new analysis of radar data suggests the plane had flown faster and therefore ran out of fuel more quickly than previously estimated.

That means searchers have concluded that hundreds of floating objects detected over the last week by satellite, previously considered possible wreckage, weren’t from the plane after all. But there are advantages to the new search area: It’s closer to land and has calmer weather than the old one.

Nine planes were to fly over the new search area Friday and six ships were headed there, said John Young, manager of Australian Maritime Safety Authority emergency response division. “We have moved on” from the previous search area, he said.

AMSA said the change in search areas came from new information based on continuing analysis of the radar data received soon after Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 lost communications and veered from its scheduled path March 8. The Beijing-bound flight carrying 239 people turned around soon after taking off from Kuala Lumpur, flew west toward the Malacca Strait and disappeared from radar.

The search area has changed several times since the plane vanished as experts analyzed a frustratingly small amount of data from the aircraft, including the radar signals and “pings” that a satellite picked up for several hours after radar contact was lost.

The latest analysis indicated the aircraft was traveling faster than previously estimated, resulting in increased fuel use and reducing the possible distance the aircraft could have flown before going down in the Indian Ocean. Just as a car loses gas efficiency when driving at high speeds, a plane will get less out of a tank of fuel when it flies faster.

Planes and ships had spent a week searching about 2,500 kilometers (1,550 miles) southwest of Perth, Australia, the base for the search. Now they are searching about 1,850 kilometers (1,150 miles) west of the city.

“This is our best estimate of the area in which the aircraft is likely to have crashed into the ocean,” Martin Dolan, chief commissioner of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, said at a news conference in Canberra.

He said a wide range of scenarios went into the calculation. “We’re looking at the data from the so-called pinging of the satellite, the polling of the satellites, and that gives a distance from a satellite to the aircraft to within a reasonable approximation,” he said. He said that information was coupled with various projections of aircraft performance and the plane’s distance from the satellites at given times.

Dolan said the search now is for surface debris to give an indication of “where the main aircraft wreckage is likely to be. This has a long way to go.”

The new search area is about 80 percent smaller than the old one, but it remains large: about 319,000 square kilometers (123,000 square miles), about the size of Poland.

Sea depths in the new area range from 2,000 meters (6,560 feet) to 4,000 meters (13,120 feet), Young said. There are trenches in the area that go even deeper, Australia’s national science agency said in a statement. That includes the Diamantina Trench, which is up to 7,300 meters deep, but it was unclear whether the deepest parts of the trench are in the search area.

Young such a change in search area is not unusual.

“This is the normal business of search and rescue operations – that new information comes to light, refined analyses take you to a different place,” Young told reporters. “I don’t count the original work as a waste of time.”

He said the new search zone, being about 700 kilometers (434 miles) closer to mainland Australia, will be easier to reach. Planes used so much fuel getting to the old search area that had only about two hours of spotting time per sortie.

The new area also has better weather conditions than the old one, where searches were regularly scrapped because of storms, high winds and low visibility.

“The search area has moved out of the `roaring 40s,’ which creates very adverse weather,” Young said, referring to the latitude of the previous search area. “I’m not sure that we’ll get perfect weather out there, but it’s likely to be better than we saw in the past.”

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Friday that the latest information was “a credible new lead.”

“This is an extraordinarily difficult search, and an agonizing wait for family and friends of the passengers and crew,” he said. “We owe it to them to follow every credible lead and to keep the public informed of significant new developments. That is what we are doing.”

Australia’s HMAS Success was expected to arrive there Saturday, Young added. The Chinese Maritime Safety Administration patrol boat Haixun 01 was also on site, and several more Chinese ships were on their way.

Malaysian officials said earlier this week that satellite data confirmed the plane crashed into the southern Indian Ocean.

Authorities are rushing to find any piece of the plane to help them locate the so-called black boxes, or flight data and voice recorders, that will help solve the mystery of why the jet, en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur, flew so far off-course. The battery in the black box normally lasts for at least a month.

Officials are already preparing for the hunt for the black box. A special U.S. Navy towed pinger locator and Bluefin-21 Autonomous Underwater Vehicle are to be fitted onto an Australian vessel, the Ocean Shield, when it reaches a port near Perth in a day or two, said a government the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

He did not say how long it would take to reach the search area.

An Australian government statement said three plane crash investigators from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau will be aboard Ocean Shield to assist with the search. The investigators have technical expertise in maritime operations, flight data recorders, and materials and aerospace engineering, the statement said.

The official said the Chinese ships are also expected to have acoustic sensors that can listen for black box pingers.

For relatives of those missing, the various clues and failed searches so far have just added to their agonizing waits.

Wang Zhen, whose parents were aboard the missing plane, said in a telephone interview in Beijing that he was becoming exasperated.

“There is nothing I can do but to wait, and wait,” he said. “I’m also furious, but what is the use of getting furious?”

If and when any bit of wreckage from Flight 370 is recovered and identified, searchers will be able to narrow their hunt for the rest of the Boeing 777 and its flight data and cockpit voice recorders.

Ng reported from Kuala Lumpur. Associated Press writers Scott McDonald and Gillian Wong in Kuala Lumpur, Kristen Gelineau in Sydney, Rod McGuirk in Canberra, Australia, and Nick Perry in Wellington, New Zealand, contributed to this report.

Australia says planes checking new search area

KDWN

PERTH, Australia (AP) — The search area for the lost Malaysian jetliner was moved 1,100 kilometers (680 miles) to the northeast on Friday, as Australian officials said a new analysis of radar data suggests the plane had flown faster and therefore ran out of fuel more quickly than had been previously estimated.

That means searchers have concluded that hundreds of floating objects detected over the last week by satellite, previously considered possible wreckage, weren’t from the plane after all.

Four planes were in the new search area Friday and six ships were headed there, said John Young, manager of Australian Maritime Safety Authority emergency response division. “We have moved on” from the previous search area, he said.

AMSA said the change in search areas came from new information based on continuing analysis of the radar data received soon after Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 lost communications and veered from its scheduled path March 8. The Beijing-bound flight carrying 239 people turned around soon after taking off from Kuala Lumpur, flew west toward the Malacca Strait and disappeared from radar.

The search area has changed several times since the plane vanished as experts analyzed a frustratingly small amount of data from the aircraft, including the radar signals and “pings” that a satellite picked up for several hours after radar contact was lost.

The latest analysis indicated the aircraft was travelling faster than previously estimated, resulting in increased fuel use and reducing the possible distance the aircraft could have flown before going down in the Indian Ocean. Just as a car loses gas efficiency when driving at high speeds, a plane will get less out of a tank of fuel when it flies faster.

Planes and ships had spent a week searching about 2,500 kilometers (1,550 miles) southwest of Perth, Australia, the base for the search. Now they are searching about 1,850 kilometers (1,150 miles) west of the city.

“This is our best estimate of the area in which the aircraft is likely to have crashed into the ocean,” Martin Dolan, chief commissioner of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, said at a news conference in Canberra.

He said a wide range of scenarios went into the calculation, so the search area remains large: about 319,000 square kilometers (123,000 square miles). Sea depths in the new area range from 2,000 meters (6,560 feet) to 4,000 meters (13,120 feet), Young said.

“We’re looking at the data from the so-called pinging of the satellite, the polling of the satellites, and that gives a distance from a satellite to the aircraft to within a reasonable approximation,” Dolan said. He said that information was coupled with various projections of aircraft performance and the plane’s distance from the satellites at given times.

Dolan said the search now is for surface debris to give an indication of “where the main aircraft wreckage is likely to be. This has a long way to go.”

Young such a change in search area is not unusual.

“This is the normal business of search and rescue operations – that new information comes to light, refined analyses take you to a different place,” Young told reporters. “I don’t count the original work as a waste of time.”

A host of images from Japanese, Thai and French satellites had given searchers hope – now apparently false – that a debris field from the plane was in the earlier search area. Collectively they detected hundreds of objects ranging from 1 meter (3 feet) to about 20 meters (65 feet) in length.

Mike Coffin, the executive director of the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies at Australia’s University of Tasmania, said the frequency of the apparent false alarms raised questions about the quality of the satellite data, though it’s also possible that the satellites detected real objects that were simply unrelated to the plane. Coffin has sailed in that part of the ocean and has seen trash there.

“There is all kinds of debris in the ocean,” he said. “When you are out there, you see stuff all the time.”

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Friday that the latest information was “a credible new lead.”

“This is an extraordinarily difficult search, and an agonizing wait for family and friends of the passengers and crew,” he said. “We owe it to them to follow every credible lead and to keep the public informed of significant new developments. That is what we are doing.”

Robin Beaman, a marine geologist at Australia’s James Cook University, said the new area would be slightly “easier for searchers. It’s less distance for them to travel.”

“The weather will improve, going into those lower latitudes. You’re out of the roaring 40s zone, which is nasty,” he said. “It’s got to be better than where they currently are.”

Australia’s HMAS Success and five Chinese vessels were on their way, and that the Success was expected to arrive there late Saturday night, Young added.

Malaysian officials said earlier this week that satellite data confirmed the plane crashed into the southern Indian Ocean.

Authorities are rushing to find any piece of the plane to help them locate the so-called black boxes, or flight data and voice recorders, that will help solve the mystery of why the jet, en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur, flew so far off-course. The battery in the black box normally lasts for at least a month.

For relatives of those missing, the various clues and failed searches so far have just added to their agonizing waits.

Wang Zhen, whose parents were aboard the missing plane, said in a telephone interview in Beijing that he was becoming exasperated.

“There is nothing I can do but to wait, and wait,” he said. “I’m also furious, but what is the use of getting furious?”

If and when any bit of wreckage from Flight 370 is recovered and identified, searchers will be able to narrow their hunt for the rest of the Boeing 777 and its flight data and cockpit voice recorders.

Young said a U.S. Navy towed pinger locator and Bluefin-21 Autonomous Underwater Vehicle had arrived in Perth and would be fitted to an Australian vessel, the Ocean Shield. But he did not say when it would reach the search area.

Ng reported from Kuala Lumpur. Associated Press writers Scott McDonald and Gillian Wong in Kuala Lumpur, Kristen Gelineau in Sydney, Rod McGuirk in Canberra, Australia, and Nick Perry in Wellington, New Zealand, contributed to this report.

Australia says planes checking new search area

KDWN

PERTH, Australia (AP) — The search area for the lost Malaysian jetliner was moved 1,100 kilometers (680 miles) to the northeast on Friday, as Australian officials said a new analysis of radar data suggests the plane had flown faster and therefore ran out of fuel more quickly than had been previously estimated.

That means searchers have concluded that hundreds of floating objects detected over the last week by satellite, previously considered possible wreckage, weren’t from the plane after all.

Four planes were in the new search area Friday and six ships were headed there, said John Young, manager of Australian Maritime Safety Authority emergency response division. “We have moved on” from the previous search area, he said.

AMSA said the change in search areas came from new information based on continuing analysis of the radar data received soon after Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 lost communications and veered from its scheduled path March 8. The Beijing-bound flight carrying 239 people turned around soon after taking off from Kuala Lumpur, flew west toward the Malacca Strait and disappeared from radar.

The search area has changed several times since the plane vanished as experts analyzed a frustratingly small amount of data from the aircraft, including the radar signals and “pings” that a satellite picked up for several hours after radar contact was lost.

The latest analysis indicated the aircraft was travelling faster than previously estimated, resulting in increased fuel use and reducing the possible distance the aircraft could have flown before going down in the Indian Ocean. Just as a car loses gas efficiency when driving at high speeds, a plane will get less out of a tank of fuel when it flies faster.

Planes and ships had spent a week searching about 2,500 kilometers (1,550 miles) southwest of Perth, Australia, the base for the search. Now they are searching about 1,850 kilometers (1,150 miles) west of the city.

“This is our best estimate of the area in which the aircraft is likely to have crashed into the ocean,” Martin Dolan, chief commissioner of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, said at a news conference in Canberra.

He said a wide range of scenarios went into the calculation, so the search area remains large: about 319,000 square kilometers (123,000 square miles). Sea depths in the new area range from 2,000 meters (6,560 feet) to 4,000 meters (13,120 feet), Young said.

“We’re looking at the data from the so-called pinging of the satellite, the polling of the satellites, and that gives a distance from a satellite to the aircraft to within a reasonable approximation,” Dolan said. He said that information was coupled with various projections of aircraft performance and the plane’s distance from the satellites at given times.

Dolan said the search now is for surface debris to give an indication of “where the main aircraft wreckage is likely to be. This has a long way to go.”

Young such a change in search area is not unusual.

“This is the normal business of search and rescue operations – that new information comes to light, refined analyses take you to a different place,” Young told reporters. “I don’t count the original work as a waste of time.”

A host of images from Japanese, Thai and French satellites had given searchers hope – now apparently false – that a debris field from the plane was in the earlier search area. Collectively they detected hundreds of objects ranging from 1 meter (3 feet) to about 20 meters (65 feet) in length.

Mike Coffin, the executive director of the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies at Australia’s University of Tasmania, said the frequency of the apparent false alarms raised questions about the quality of the satellite data, though it’s also possible that the satellites detected real objects that were simply unrelated to the plane. Coffin has sailed in that part of the ocean and has seen trash there.

“There is all kinds of debris in the ocean,” he said. “When you are out there, you see stuff all the time.”

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Friday that the latest information was “a credible new lead.”

“This is an extraordinarily difficult search, and an agonizing wait for family and friends of the passengers and crew,” he said. “We owe it to them to follow every credible lead and to keep the public informed of significant new developments. That is what we are doing.”

Robin Beaman, a marine geologist at Australia’s James Cook University, said the new area would be slightly “easier for searchers. It’s less distance for them to travel.”

“The weather will improve, going into those lower latitudes. You’re out of the roaring 40s zone, which is nasty,” he said. “It’s got to be better than where they currently are.”

Australia’s HMAS Success and five Chinese vessels were on their way, and that the Success was expected to arrive there late Saturday night, Young added.

Malaysian officials said earlier this week that satellite data confirmed the plane crashed into the southern Indian Ocean.

Authorities are rushing to find any piece of the plane to help them locate the so-called black boxes, or flight data and voice recorders, that will help solve the mystery of why the jet, en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur, flew so far off-course. The battery in the black box normally lasts for at least a month.

For relatives of those missing, the various clues and failed searches so far have just added to their agonizing waits.

Wang Zhen, whose parents were aboard the missing plane, said in a telephone interview in Beijing that he was becoming exasperated.

“There is nothing I can do but to wait, and wait,” he said. “I’m also furious, but what is the use of getting furious?”

If and when any bit of wreckage from Flight 370 is recovered and identified, searchers will be able to narrow their hunt for the rest of the Boeing 777 and its flight data and cockpit voice recorders.

Young said a U.S. Navy towed pinger locator and Bluefin-21 Autonomous Underwater Vehicle had arrived in Perth and would be fitted to an Australian vessel, the Ocean Shield. But he did not say when it would reach the search area.

Ng reported from Kuala Lumpur. Associated Press writers Scott McDonald and Gillian Wong in Kuala Lumpur, Kristen Gelineau in Sydney, Rod McGuirk in Canberra, Australia, and Nick Perry in Wellington, New Zealand, contributed to this report.

Australia says planes checking new search area

KDWN

PERTH, Australia (AP) — Planes are searching a new area of the Indian Ocean for possible signs of the Malaysian airliner after a new analysis of radar data suggests the plane flew faster than thought and used up more fuel, which may have reduced the distance it traveled, Australia said Friday.

Based on the new information, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said it had shifted the search area for the jet that disappeared nearly three weeks ago to a region 1,100 kilometers (680 miles) to the northeast of where planes and ships had been trying to find any sign of it.

Four search planes were in the area Friday, and six ships were headed there, said John Young, manager of AMSA’s emergency response division, adding they had moved on from the previous search area, some 2,500 kilometers southwest of Perth, Australia, the launching base for the search.

AMSA said the change in search areas came from new information based on continuing analysis of radar data between the South China Sea and the Strait of Malacca before radar contact was lost with Flight 370 early on March 8.

The analysis indicated the aircraft was travelling faster than previously estimated, resulting in increased fuel use and reducing the possible distance the aircraft could have flown into the Indian Ocean.

“This is our best estimate of the area in which the aircraft is likely to have crashed into the ocean,” said Martin Dolan, chief commissioner of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.

The new search area is more than 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) north of an area in which apparently floating objects were spotted by Japanese, Thai and French satellites earlier this week. Most of the objects measured from about 1 meter (3 feet) to about 20 meters (65 feet).

Young said those satellite images “may or may not actually be objects,” and acknowledged that the search had moved away from that previous area.

He said it not unusual to make such changes and dismissed questions that the earlier searches had been a wasted effort.

“This is the normal business of search and rescue operations – that new information comes to light, refined analyses take you to a different place,” Young told reporters. “I don’t count the original work as a waste of time.”

The new area is 319,000 square kilometers (123,000 square miles) and about 1,850 kilometers (1,250 miles) west of Perth. The sea depth in the new area ranged from 2,000 meters (6,560 feet) to 4,000 meters (13,120 feet), Young said.

Australia’s HMAS Success and five Chinese vessels were on their way, and that the Success was expected to arrive there late Saturday night, he added.

Strong winds and currents have made it difficult to pinpoint objects spotted so far, and the search has yet to produce any trace of the plane.

Malaysian officials said earlier this week that satellite data confirmed the plane crashed into the southern Indian Ocean.

Authorities are rushing to find any piece of the plane to help them locate the so-called black boxes, or flight data and voice recorders, that will help solve the mystery of why the jet, en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur, flew so far off-course. The battery in the black box normally lasts about a month.

For relatives of the 239 people aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, the various clues and failed searches so far have just added to their agonizing waits.

Wang Zhen, whose parents were aboard the missing plane, said in a telephone interview in Beijing that he was becoming exasperated.

“There is nothing I can do but to wait, and wait,” he said. “I’m also furious, but what is the use of getting furious?”

Ng reported from Kuala Lumpur. Associated Press writers Scott McDonald and Gillian Wong in Kuala Lumpur, Kristen Gelineau in Sydney, and Rod McGuirk in Canberra, Australia, contributed to this report.

Australia says planes checking new search area

KDWN

PERTH, Australia (AP) — Planes are searching a new area of the Indian Ocean for possible signs of the Malaysian airliner after a new analysis of radar data suggests the plane flew faster than thought and used up more fuel, which may have reduced the distance it traveled, Australia said Friday.

Based on the new information, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said it had shifted the search area for the jet that disappeared nearly three weeks ago to a region 1,100 kilometers (680 miles) to the northeast of where planes and ships had been trying to find any sign of it.

Four search planes were in the area Friday, and six ships were headed there, said John Young, manager of AMSA’s emergency response division, adding they had moved on from the previous search area, some 2,500 kilometers southwest of Perth, Australia, the launching base for the search.

AMSA said the change in search areas came from new information based on continuing analysis of radar data between the South China Sea and the Strait of Malacca before radar contact was lost with Flight 370 early on March 8.

The analysis indicated the aircraft was travelling faster than previously estimated, resulting in increased fuel use and reducing the possible distance the aircraft could have flown into the Indian Ocean.

“This is our best estimate of the area in which the aircraft is likely to have crashed into the ocean,” said Martin Dolan, chief commissioner of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.

The new search area is more than 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) north of an area in which apparently floating objects were spotted by Japanese, Thai and French satellites earlier this week. Most of the objects measured from about 1 meter (3 feet) to about 20 meters (65 feet).

Young said those satellite images “may or may not actually be objects,” and acknowledged that the search had moved away from that previous area.

He said it not unusual to make such changes and dismissed questions that the earlier searches had been a wasted effort.

“This is the normal business of search and rescue operations – that new information comes to light, refined analyses take you to a different place,” Young told reporters. “I don’t count the original work as a waste of time.”

The new area is 319,000 square kilometers (123,000 square miles) and about 1,850 kilometers (1,250 miles) west of Perth. The sea depth in the new area ranged from 2,000 meters (6,560 feet) to 4,000 meters (13,120 feet), Young said.

Australia’s HMAS Success and five Chinese vessels were on their way, and that the Success was expected to arrive there late Saturday night, he added.

Strong winds and currents have made it difficult to pinpoint objects spotted so far, and the search has yet to produce any trace of the plane.

Malaysian officials said earlier this week that satellite data confirmed the plane crashed into the southern Indian Ocean.

Authorities are rushing to find any piece of the plane to help them locate the so-called black boxes, or flight data and voice recorders, that will help solve the mystery of why the jet, en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur, flew so far off-course. The battery in the black box normally lasts about a month.

For relatives of the 239 people aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, the various clues and failed searches so far have just added to their agonizing waits.

Wang Zhen, whose parents were aboard the missing plane, said in a telephone interview in Beijing that he was becoming exasperated.

“There is nothing I can do but to wait, and wait,” he said. “I’m also furious, but what is the use of getting furious?”

Ng reported from Kuala Lumpur. Associated Press writers Scott McDonald and Gillian Wong in Kuala Lumpur, Kristen Gelineau in Sydney, and Rod McGuirk in Canberra, Australia, contributed to this report.

Australia says planes checking new search area

KDWN

PERTH, Australia (AP) — Australia says four planes are now searching in a new area in the Indian Ocean for possible signs of the Malaysian airliner that went missing three weeks ago.

John Young, manager of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s emergency response division, said Friday that four planes were in the area, and that six ships were headed there.

Officials said earlier that the search zone had been shifted 1,100 kilometers (680 miles) to the northeast after new analysis of radar data suggested the plane flew faster than thought and used more fuel, which may have reduced the distance it traveled.

The search comes as the weather cleared enough Friday to allow planes to hunt for fresh clues to the fate of the plane carrying 239 people that went missing March 8.