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A Royal Australian Air Force AP-3C Orion flies past the Australian Defense vessel Ocean Shield on a mission to drop sonar buoys to assist in the acoustic search for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet in the southern Indian Ocean on April 9. / LSIS Bradley Darvill, Australian Defense Force, via AP AP

The search for the doomed Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has been moved to another area of the Indian Ocean dubbed "the 7th arc" following new analysis of satellite communications from the doomed jet, Australian officials said Thursday.

The new target area was revealed a week after officials completed a search of the previous target area with no sign of debris.

"The latest information and analysis confirms that MH370 will be found in close proximity to the arc," the Australian Transport Safety Bureau said in a statement. "At the time MH370 reached this arc, the aircraft is considered to have exhausted its fuel and to have been descending."

The bureau said the plane probably crashed within 60 miles of the sweeping arc - a massive area of the globe that the bureau said it will trim to a "prioritized" 17,500-square-mile search area.

The Beijing-bound plane, with 239 people aboard, disappeared March 8 about an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. No trace has been found.

Last week, the Joint Australian Coordination Center said the submersible Bluefin-21 had completed its underwater sweep of areas in the vicinity of the acoustic signals detected in early April by the Towed Pinger Locator deployed from ADV Ocean Shield. The pings made international headlines, fanning hope that the mystery of Flight MH370 would soon be solved.

The JACC said, however, that "in its professional judgment, the area can now be discounted as the final resting place of MH370."

The underwater search will aim to locate the aircraft and any evidence (such as aircraft debris and flight recorders) to assist with the Malaysian investigation of the disappearance of MH370. That search was scheduled to begin in August and take up to 12 months, JACC said.

On Wednesday, a team of Australian researchers released data describing an underwater sound recorded around the time the plane vanished. The sound was recorded by a device primarily used to listen for nuclear tests and earthquakes. But Alec Duncan, leader of the research team, said it was unlikely the rumblings were related to the vanished plane.



Copyright 2014 USATODAY.com

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