A U.S. Navy underwater vehicle had been searching the ocean floor for Flight 370 since early April, after searchers detected acoustic signals in the area that they believed to be coming from the plane’s black box. But the Australia-based joint search agency said Thursday the plane isn’t in the vicinity of those pings.
“The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has advised that the search in the vicinity of the acoustic detections can now be considered complete and in its professional judgement, the area can now be discounted as the final resting place of MH370,” the Joint Agency Coordination Centre said in a statement.
The plane bound from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing went missing on March 8 with 239 people aboard, and has become the longest disappearance—and the most expensive search—in modern commercial aviation history. Transmission data suggests the plane took a sharp turn off course and landed somewhere in the Indian Ocean. The search will now move to a much wider section of the ocean, encompassing up to 23,166 square miles.