Malaysia Plane May Have Sent Signals Hours After Disappearing

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WASHINGTON (AP) - A U.S. official says a Malaysia Airlines plane was sending signals to a satellite for four hours after the aircraft went missing, an indication that it was still flying.

The official said the Boeing 777-200 wasn't transmitting data to the satellite, but sending out a signal to establish contact. Boeing offers a satellite service that can receive a stream of data during flight on how the aircraft is functioning.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to speak publicly, said Malaysia Airlines didn't subscribe to that service, but the system was automatically pinging the satellite anyway.

The official also said some messages involving a different data service were received for a short time after the plane's transponder went silent.


KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) - Malaysian authorities are again expanding the search area for the missing jetliner.

Malaysia's transport minister says it's possible the plane could have flown for several hours after its last contact with the ground.

The Wall Street Journal quotes U.S. investigators as saying they suspect the plane remained in the air for about four hours after its last confirmed contact. They cited data from the plane's engines automatically transmitted as part of a routine maintenance program.

But the transport minister says Malaysia contacted Boeing and Rolls Royce, the engine manufacturer, and both said the last engine data was received about 23 minutes before the plane lost contact. Still, he says investigators have been unable to rule anything out yet and have requested radar data from India and other neighboring countries.

Planes were sent today to search an area off the southern tip of Vietnam. Chinese satellite images reportedly showed three floating objects there, but the searchers spotted nothing