The mysterious disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, missing for 11 days without any promising clues and a search area that’s only growing, became the longest in the history of modern commercial aviation on Tuesday.
The international search for the jetliner, which vanished during a March 8 flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, has now expanded to almost 8 million sq km — almost the size of the U.S.
“This is an enormous search area. And it is something that Malaysia cannot possibly search on its own,” Malaysian Transportation Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said at a news conference. “I am therefore very pleased that so many countries have come forward to offer assistance and support to the search-and-rescue operation.”
Twenty-five countries are collaborating on the search that spans from China to Australia and has included parts of the Indian Ocean. There were 239 people on board.
While new information has been sparse and often conflicting, a spokesman for Thailand’s air force said on Tuesday its radars might have detected the flight minutes after the plane’s communications went down. That would support suspicions that the flight sharply turned west, deviating from its intended path.
In its 11 days missing, the black box would have presumably lost one-third of its battery life, according to ABC.