New Zealand Air Force looking for debris from missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 in April 2014.
Richard Polden—Getty Images
May 20, 2015 7:31 AM EDT

Investigators hunting for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 have widened their ocean floor search to a larger zone and don’t know where else to focus if the jet can’t be found there, authorities announced Wednesday.

The underwater operation has been “modified” and experts have started searching a larger area of the southern Indian Ocean even before a survey of the original zone has been completed.

Until now, the hunt for Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 had been focused on a 23,000-square mile patch where investigators said it probably crashed.

The expanded zone covers 46,000 square miles — an area about the size of Pennsylvania…

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