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Inmarsat: MH370 Searchers Didn't Look in Most Likely Crash Site

FILE - A policeman takes a nap beside a board written with messages for passengers onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 during a closed meeting held between Malaysian representatives and Chinese relatives of passengers on Flight MH370 at Lido Hotel.
A British satellite company says authorities have yet to search what it believes is the most likely crash site of the missing Malaysian jet.

Authorities recently finished up an unsuccessful, two-month-long search of 850 square kilometers of southern Indian Ocean seabed.

The search location was determined based on electronic signals sent from the plane to a communications satellite owned by Inmarsat.

An Inmarsat official told the BBC on Tuesday that the location searched was "further to the northeast than our area of highest probability."

He said an Australian ship was originally headed to the so-called "hotspot," but was distracted by signals thought to be from the missing jet's black box.

Australian officials have defended its choice of a search area, saying the "pings" were the best available leads at the time.

The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 was headed from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8 when it disappeared with 239 people on board.

The massive, multinational search has been temporarily paused while ships carry out a complex, months-long survey of the Indian Ocean floor.

Officials plan to use the survey data to determine the best location and equipment needed to continue the underwater search.

Flight MH370 Timeline

  • March 8: Contact lost less than one hour after departing Kuala Lumpur for Beijing
  • March 10: Search radius expanded, China urges Malaysia to speed up investigation
  • March 12: Chinese satellite images of possible debris are released and determined not to be related to the plane
  • March 14: Media reports say MH370 communications system continued to ping a satellite hours after plane disappeared
  • March 15: Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak says someone on MH370 likely turned off its communications systems
  • March 20: Australian aircraft investigate possible debris in a remote area of the southern Indian Ocean
  • March 24: Razak says new analysis indicates MH370 crashed in Indian Ocean
  • March 28: Search shifts more than 1,000 kilometers northeast in the Indian Ocean following a new "credible lead"
  • April 1: Malaysia releases full transcript of last exchanges with MH370
  • April 2: Malaysia says all flight MH370 passengers have been cleared of wrongdoing
  • April 4-6: Chinese and Australian ships report hearing signals in different parts of search area
  • April 14: Australia deploys mini-sub in search
  • May 1: Malaysia report says it took 17 minutes to realize MH370 had gone off radar
  • May 27: Malaysia releases raw satellite data used to calculate search area
  • May 29: Australia concludes plane did not crash near where pings were heard
  • June 17: Inmarsat says authorities have yet to search the most likely crash site