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Australia launches 'needle in haystack' plane search

Published on Mar 18, 2014 2:27 PM

SYDNEY (AFP) - Australian authorities said Tuesday they had begun searching 600,000 square kilometres of the remote Indian Ocean for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, and conceded it was like looking for a needle in a haystack.

The Malaysian government has revealed it believes the jet was deliberately diverted and flew for several hours after leaving its scheduled flight path - either north towards Central Asia, or towards the southern Indian Ocean.

Authorities in Kuala Lumpur on Monday asked Canberra to take responsibility for the "southern vector" of the operation to locate the Boeing 777 that disappeared on March 8 en route to Beijing, with American and New Zealand aircraft working with Australia.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority has taken charge and emergency response general manager John Young said they were focusing on an area 3,000 kilometres south-west of Perth.

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