Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 reportedly sent signals to a satellite for four hours after it broke contact with the ground, suggesting that it might have flown much farther than originally thought.
The search for the missing flight has now expanded closer to India after authorities discovered the signal, which didn’t transmit data, but rather emitted a ping to show up in the system.
“It’s like when your cellphone is off but it still sends out a little ‘I’m here’ message to the cellphone network,” an unnamed U.S. official said. “That’s how sometimes they can triangulate your position even though you’re not calling because the phone every so often sends out a little bleep. That’s sort of what this thing was doing.”
Authorities involved in the search say that as the area widens, the bigger the stakes become.
“It’s a completely new game now,” Cmdr. William Marks of the U.S. 7th Fleet said. “We went from a chess board to a football field.”
“MH370 went completely silent over the open ocean,” said Malaysia’s acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein. “This is a crisis situation. It is a very complex operation, and it is not obviously easy. We are devoting all our energies to the task at hand.”
The aircraft was carrying 239 people. Since it went missing last weekend, there has been much speculation about what might have happened, including a story about two possibly stolen passports that seemed to point to terrorism of some sort. However, authorities are no closer to figuring out whey the plane went off course.
Earlier this week, a man working on an oil rig off the coast of Vietnam said he witnessed the plane burst into flames and crash into the ocean; however, his story has not been confirmed.
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