March 28, 2014— -- Early this morning, nearly three weeks to the day after Malaysia Airlines flight 370 disappeared, the Malaysian government announced they were moving the search area for the plane. Again.
Within hours of the announcement, search planes scouring the new area - 700 miles north of the old area - reported spotting objects floating on the water, though there's still no conclusive evidence tying the objects to the plane.
The authorities have explained that they are drawing conclusions based on scant satellite and radar data and what they know about the plane, including that they now think it flew faster than originally believed, which would burn fuel at a faster pace and shorten the plane's flight. Below, is the most up-to-date information about the search for the missing plane and its 239 passengers.
Check out ABC News' photos of the search for the flight here, too.
- Objects Spotted Immediately in New Search Area
- Just hours after Malaysia announced it was moving the search area 700 miles north, five out of ten search planes scouring the area reported seeing "multiple objects of various colors," a hopeful sign that the new search area will contain evidence from the plane.
- Still, no ships have found and recovered the objects yet to determine whether they are connected to flight 370.
- Satellite images from France, China, and Thailand, among other countries, showed objects floating in the old search area, 1,500 miles off the coast of Perth, Australia, over the past week. None of those objects were ever located by a ship or determined to have anything to do with the missing plane.
- Plane Flew Faster Than Previously Thought, Used Up More Gas
- Malaysia announced this morning that a new analysis of radar data, conducted in part by the plane's manufacturer Boeing, showed that the plane flew faster than previously thought, therefore using up more gas in a smaller amount of time and flying a shorter distance before running out of fuel.
- Based on the new analysis, Malaysian authorities moved the search operation 700 miles northeast of where ships and planes have spent the past week searching.
- The Investigation
- Malaysian authorities refuse to speculate on whether the plane went down to catastrophic mechanical failure or human cause, or to entertain theories about hijacking or pilot suicide. American authorities, however, have told ABC News that they believe the plane was diverted from its flight path by a "deliberate act."
- The FBI is still examining the flight simulator that the plane's pilot, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, had constructed at his home and used to practice flying. The initial analysis of the simulator by Malaysian police and U.S. investigators showed that some files had been deleted. The FBI is now working to recover those files.
- The simulator did show that Shah had used the simulator to fly the route from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing, China, that flight 370 was making on the night it disappeared, but authorities said that was not suspicious.
- The Passengers and Their Families
- A Chicago law firm took the first step in filing litigation on behalf of the father of a man who was on the missing plane. The request for documents cites Malaysia Airlines and Boeing, which the made the 777 jetliner.
- 239 people were on board the flight, including 227 passengers (including one infant and one toddler) and 12 crew members.
- Three Americans, including two children, are among the missing. Philip Wood, 50, an IBM executive, had just come from Texas where he was visiting family on his way to Beijing.
- There was a total of 14 nationalities on board, but 152 passengers were Chinese.
- Twenty passengers on the plane worked for the Austin, Texas, company Freescale Semiconductor. Another passenger, Chng Mei Ling, worked as an engineer for the Pennsylvania company Flexsys America LP.
- Pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah, 53, was a veteran pilot who joined Malaysia Airlines in 1981 and had over 18,000 flying hours.