man watches a large screen showing different flights at the departure hall of Kuala Lumpur International Airport
man watches a large screen showing different flights at the departure hall of Kuala Lumpur International AirportReuters

Pentagon officials have moved the US searches for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 into the Indian Sea after six days of fruitless efforts.

US officials told ABC news that the jetliner may have crashed in the Indian Ocean four of five hours after disappearing from radar.

"We have an indication the plane went down in the Indian Ocean," a senior official said.

The USS Kidd destroyer was ordered to the area to continue its searching. It will take more than 24 hours to arrive.

The US Navy was also sending its anti-submarine and maritime surveillance aircraft P-8A Poseidon into Malaysian waters to step up operations.

Malaysian authorities have denied reports in the Wall Street Journal that the aircraft could have flown for several hours after disappearing from radar. The last transmission was at 01.07am local time.

They also disputed Chinese claims that satellite images of debris from flight MH370 were authentic and said they were "released by accident".

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 Crash Map
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 Crash Map

The search was extended earlier this week to include ocean far to the west of the Malaysian peninsula although the main focus has been on the South China Sea to the east and south of the country.

"The US team was of the view that there were reasonable grounds for the Malaysian authorities to deploy resources to conduct a search on the western side of the peninsula," said defence minister Hishammuddin Hussein.

P-8A Poseidon

The US Navy confirmed that the P-8A Poseidon, which adds enhanced technology and greater range to the search, would join the P-3C Orion in the area.

"The P-3 will fly an evening search mission tonight using its radar, infrared and night vision capabilities."

The aircraft has a maximum speed of 490 knots, a flight ceiling of 41,000ft, and has a range of more than 1,200 nautical miles with four hours from its base.

UPDATE: White House spokesman Jay Carney has confirmed that a new search area may be opened in the Indian Coean:

"It is my understanding the one possible piece of information, or pieces of information, has led to the possibility that a new search area may be opened up over the Indian Ocean," Carney said, according to the Guardian.


Flight MH370 took off from Kuala Lumpur International Airport en route to Beijing at 00:41 on Saturday 8 March (16:41 GMT Friday).

About 50 minutes later, the aircraft lost contact with air traffic control.

No distress call was made.

On board, there were 12 Malaysian crew members and 227 passengers from 14 countries. That included 153 Chinese and 38 Malaysians.

Two Iranian male passengers, Pouria Nour Mohammad Mahread and Delavar Syed Mohammad Reza, were travelling on fake passports. Neither had any apparent links to terrorist groups.

No debris from the plane has been found in the international search.

At least 10 countries, including China, the US and Singapore, were using a total of 42 ships and 39 aircraft to search for the missing plane in the South China Sea, the Malacca Strait and the Andaman Sea.