The search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH 370 reached closer to the Indian mainland Friday with defence forces focusing their efforts on a new strip in the Bay of Bengal following a request from Malaysian authorities, amid indications the aircraft flew for several hours before disappearing from satellite contact.
The new area is a little more than 300 km off the Indian coastline near Chennai and assets are being deployed by the Eastern Naval Command to scan for any sign of the missing Boeing 777.
The expanse of water is about 9,000 sq km and close to the Indian Exclusive Economic Zone.
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“Malaysian authorities have also requested for a search in the Bay of Bengal. This area is approximately 900 km due west of Port Blair. Its expanse is 15 km by 600 km,” defence ministry officials said.
If the missing flight is identified in this area, it could indicate that the chain of military radars on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands missed the plane as it would have had to fly over the islands to reach there.
The air defence network on the islands would have in the normal course picked up an unidentified plane. However, sources pointed out the radars there are not always switched on.