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Indian Ocean poses daunting challenge in search for missing Malaysia Airlines MH370

Published on Mar 16, 2014 11:26 AM
In this photograph released by the Indian Navy on March 15, 2014, Indian naval officers work in the control room of the P8I Long Range Maritime Patrol aircraft as it searches for a missing Malaysian jet in the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea. -- PHOTO: AFP

SYDNEY (REUTERS) - The southern Indian Ocean, where investigators suspect missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 may have come down, is one place where a commercial airliner can crash without a ship spotting it, a radar plotting it or even a satellite picking it up.

The empty expanse of water is one of the most remote places in the world and also one of the deepest, posing potentially enormous challenges for the international search effort now refocusing on the area, one of several possible crash sites.

Even Australia, which has island territories in the Indian Ocean and sends rescue planes to pluck stricken yachtsmen from the cold, mountainous seas in the south from time to time, has no radar coverage much beyond its Indian Ocean coast.

"In most of Western Australia and almost all of the Indian Ocean, there is almost no radar coverage," an Australian civil aviation authority source said, requesting anonymity as he was not authorised to speak on the record.

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