The focus has shifted once again in the search for Malaysia Airlines flight 370. A military plane from New Zealand has spotted objects in the search hundreds of miles northeast of the previous search area, the Associated Press reports.
Australian officials said they turned away from the old search area, which they had combed for a week, because said a new analysis of radar data suggests the plane had flown faster and therefore ran out of fuel more quickly than previously estimated. The new area is closer to land and has calmer weather than the old one, which will make searching easier.
Those searching for the plane had previously been focused on a remote part of the Indian Ocean, after debris was spotted by Japanese, Thai, and French satellites this week. Last week Australian and Chinese satellites spotted objects near the same area. The area was vast and far from land, about 1,550 miles southwest of Perth, Australia and was plagued with storms, high winds, and low visibility.
The new search area is about 1,150 miles west of Perth, which is on the west coast of Australia. The area is still large, but is about 80 percent smaller than the old one and does not have the same harsh weather conditions.
A major international search effort has been underway since the Boeing 777 carrying 12 crew members and 227 passengers on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing lost contact on March 8.
The search operation is being overseen by Australia and includes a coalition of international military resources from China, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, and the US.
The new objects that were found today were spotted by a New Zealand air force plane and will need to be confirmed by ship, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said via Twitter.
The hunt for the missing jetliner is in another critical phase as time is running out to find the plane’s black box, the Associated Press reports.
Equipment inside two nearly indestructible boxes aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines plane recorded critical information that would help investigators reconstruct what went wrong. The flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder have beacons that are sending out "pings" which searchers could track back to the main wreckage.
The box is designed to last 30 days, which means flight 370’s black box could run out of battery power in two weeks, around mid-April, according to the Associated Press.
For the relatives of the 239 people on board, the wait for answers on the plane’s dissapperance has been filled with frustration and grief. Earlier this week after Malaysian officials said satellite data confirmed the plane had crashed, Chinese social media exploded with messages of anger and distrust of the investigation.