KUALA LUMPUR, March 14 — United States officials have an "indication" the missing Malaysia Airlines aircraft may have crashed in the Indian Ocean and is moving the USS Kidd to the area to begin searching, ABC News has reported.
"We have an indication the plane went down in the Indian Ocean," a senior Pentagon official told ABC News.
The official added there were indications that the plane flew four or five hours after disappearing from radar and that they believe it went into the water.
The latest report comes after Malaysia denied a Wall Street Journal report suggesting MH370 flew for up to four hours more based on engine data transmitted by the aircraft.
MAS and other Malaysian officials said neither Boeing or Rolls Royce, the engine manufacturer, had received such information.
But the ABC News now suggests that US officials still believe the aircraft flew on for hours after Malaysia lost contact with it.
The Pentagon official told the US television station that it would now take another 24 hours to move USS Kiidd to the area.
The official said that the USS Kidd was being moved at the request of Malaysia and is heading towards an area where the Indian Ocean and the Andaman Sea meet. It has helicopters aboard that can scour the area.
Vessels from India are also understood to be heading to the area to search for MH370.
Malaysian investigators had said yesterday that U.S. officials gave them reasons to keep searching the waters west of Malaysia, far from the flight path of the Malaysia Airlines plane.
Malaysian Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said that the search’s “main focus has always been in the South China Sea,” which is east of Malaysia and along the plane’s route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
But the search was extended earlier this week to include water far to the west on the other side of Malaysia.
“We are working very closely with the FAA and the NTSB on the issue of a possible air turn back,” Hishammuddin said, referring to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board.
“They have indicated to us that based on the information given by the Malaysian authorities, they — being the FAA and NTSB — the U.S. team was of the view that there was reasonable ground for the Malaysian authorities to deploy resources to conduct search on the western side of the peninsula of Malaysia. Under the circumstances, it is appropriate to conduct the search even if the evidence suggests there is a possibility of finding a minor evidence to suggest that ... the aircraft would have been there.”
Hishammuddin said it was possible the plane kept flying after dropping off of radar. "Of course, this is why we have extended the search," he said.