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Flight MH370: 'Like looking for a stapler in the North Island'

Friday 14 Mar 2014 5:09 p.m.

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Flight MH370's disappearance has become an unprecedented aviation mystery.

How does a 64m plane with 239 passengers and crew disappear without trace in one of the most heavily populated corners of the globe?

Last night the Wall Street Journal raised yet another possibility.

The paper said data downloaded automatically from the plane's engines suggested it had flown for a total of five hours, four hours longer than first thought.

Malaysian authorities have now rejected the idea, but if it is true, it opens up a massive new search area.

The flight's last confirmed location was in the middle of the Gulf of Thailand.

At its average cruising speed of 900km/ph, the Boeing 777 could have flown 3600km in four hours.

If a circle is drawn with a 3600 km radius from the plane's last confirmed location, the range is huge.

If it flew due east it could have reached Micronesia in the Pacific and due south it could almost have got to Perth.

If the plane had turned Northwest it could have crossed the Pakistan border.

To put this into perspective, that sort of radius for New Zealand means it could have landed anywhere from Melbourne, to Papua New Guinea, to Samoa, or halfway to Antarctica.

Watch the full report from Tristram Clayton.

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