US Says Missing Jet Sent 'Pings' After Losing Contact
Hunt expected to expand into Indian Ocean
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Mar 13, 2014 6:36 PM CDT
An Indonesian Air Force officer draws a flight pattern flown earlier in a search operation.   (AP Photo/Binsar Bakkara)

(Newser) – Day 6 has yielded no sign of the missing Malaysian jet, only a growing belief that it continued to fly for at least four hours after its last contact with flight controllers. But even if so, authorities can't say in which direction it flew or whether, as the Washington Post points out, it "simply circled." Still, most signs seems to be pointing west. As White House spokesman Jay Carney said, “It’s my understanding that based on some new information that’s not necessarily conclusive—but new information—an additional search area may be opened in the Indian Ocean.” The new information turns out to be faint pings, or electronic pulses, emitted by the plane and picked up by satellites, reports Reuters.

Earlier, the Wall Street Journal reported that monitoring systems embedded in the plane's engines continued to emit data for four hours after the plane's last contact, but that turns out to be off slightly. The "pings" being sent out by the plane were instead part of an automated system trying to link up to satellites, reports AP. It offers a quote from a US official to explain: "It's like when your cellphone is off but it still sends out a little 'I'm here' message to the cellphone network," he says. "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." Either way, the pings suggest that the plane was indeed still flying for four to six hours after last contact, which could put it well out over the Indian Ocean.

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Mar 14, 2014 6:48 AM CDT
Most of the posts here are pure speculative fantasy. 1. Never underestimate people's inherant incompetance 2. The simplest explanation is often the most likely. 3. The primary targets of attack from a disgruntled muslim are outside of the flight range of this jet. They would have to stop to refuel and that would make them "found" wouldn't it? 4. All the electronic gizmos on the plane and on the ground still have a range limitation. (try using your cell phone at 30,000 ft and see what you get over the ocean. The world is a big place and you have to know where to start looking or the "everyplace whithin 800 miles" becomes a really big search area. 5. Assuming the conspiracy folks are right, The passengers are primarily Chinese. So what's the Muslim hostage message being sent there? If the west is the great Satan why would they take Chinese hostages? Do they really want to poke the sleeping dragon? IF they find the plane some of these questions will be answered but I'll bet all these poor folks are feeding fish at the moment. And probably because the pilot is an idiot. I'll bet they never find the plane and they give up looking after two weeks.
Mar 14, 2014 4:40 AM CDT
The media is still covering the fact that both pilots were Muslim
Mar 14, 2014 2:29 AM CDT