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Missing Malaysia Airlines jet: Search crews may be looking in the wrong place

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Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Thursday, May 29, 2014, 5:44 PM - Crews have been scouring an area of the Indian Ocean for more than a month in hopes of finding a missing Malaysia Airlines jet. It turns out they may have been searching in the wrong place, the Australian task force in charge of the recovery announced Thursday.

The next stage of the search is expected to continue in August and could take up to 12 months.

"Now hopefully there will be a breakthrough earlier and so it won't take that amount of time, but unfortunately this is a painstaking effort in a very large ocean," Warren Truss, Australia's Deputy Prime Minister said at a Thursday press conference.

Families of the missing are calling the announcement a "major setback" that's come after more than 11 weeks of searching.

RELATED: Two Canadians among missing in Malaysia Airlines disaster

A U.S. Navy underwater rover has been scanning the ocean floor west of Australia since early April after authorities picked up what they believed to be signals from the black box recorder of the missing flight.

At the time, search crews said the apparent detection of pings was the best lead to date on where the plane was located.

But the area where the signals were detected has been thoroughly searched, leading authorities to conclude it is not where the plane came to rest.

The recent announcement means that the search area has now expanded to cover more than 59,000 square kilometres.

The Boeing 777 aircraft vanished less than an hour after take off from Malaysia's capital Kuala Lumpur en route to Beijing, China in the early morning hours on March 8, 2014.

Malaysia Airlines CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said the plane didn't issue a distress call.

Two hundred and thirty-nine passengers were aboard.

Authorities have no idea what happened to the plane and no physical evidence of the missing jet has materialized to date.

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