New shift in the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight

Search teams have a new focus on finding the Malaysia Airlines jet that vanished over southeast Asia nearly four months ago.

Investigators are moving the focus of search operations to an area farther south in the Indian Ocean.

Teams have already been doing visual surveillance in the new search area, but now the plan is to look underwater.

Martin Dolan, the Chief Commissioner of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, said it is highly likely the plane was on autopilot until it ran out of fuel.

“The basic assumption would be that if the autopilot is operational it’s because it’s been switched on”, Dolan said.

However, Dolan said that exactly why the autopilot would have been set on a flight path so far off-course from the jet’s destination of Beijing, and exactly when it was switched on remains unknown.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 disappeared on March 8, 2014 and was carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew members.

The Boeing 777 had left Kuala Lumpur for Beijing Airport but lost contact with air traffic controllers as it crossed the South China Sea.