Momentum seems to be building behind one definitive conclusion: Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 did not follow the northern arc, or so say a growing chorus of sources. China is among the Asian countries searching that huge arc for the plane, and experts say they'd be amazed if it had somehow slipped through the country's radar. While countries along the suspected route are understandably tight-lipped about their air defenses, analysts believe radar systems in China—along with those covering India's tense northern border and around US bases in Afghanistan—are far too robust for an unidentified Boeing 777 to pass through the region undetected, the New York Times finds.
Reuters' source says much the same, and then some: "The working assumption is that it went south, and furthermore that it went to the southern end of that corridor," based on the absence of northern radar data and lack of debris in the initial part of the southern corridor. More:
- The southern Indian Ocean is "one of the remotest places on Earth and also one of the deepest seas," notes Reuters, diminishing the chances we'll ever find the plane.
- And the clock is ticking. In 18 days, the batteries that are sending out pings from the box that holds the flight-data and cockpit-voice recorders will likely die, reports CNN.
- Australia, which is at the helm of the search in the southern part of the southern corridor, has winnowed its search area to 89,000 square nautical miles—about the size of Italy, reports the Times.