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Malaysia Searching For Lost Airliner In Southern Andaman Sea

A Vietnamese military officer works within a Vietnamese air force AN-26 during a mission to find the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 off Tho Chu islands on March 11.
Malaysian authorities say they are searching for a missing Malaysia Airlines airplane in the southern part of the Andaman Sea, hundreds of kilometers to the northwest of the original search radius.

Civil aviation chief Azharuddin Abdul Rahman announced the news on March 12 without explaining why the new target area has been chosen.

The Andaman Sea is above the island of Sumatra and off of Thailand's west coast.

The news comes as Malaysian authorities are being criticized for contradictory statements and a general sense of confusion over which direction the plane was heading when it disappeared.

There are reports it may have turned back from its last known position between Malaysia and Vietnam before contact was lost.

Meanwhile, Vietnam is scaling back its search in Vietnamese waters.

Deputy Transport Minister Pham Quy Tieu told reporters there would still be a few more search flights but that searches by ship were being suspended.

Flight MH370 went missing early on March 8 with 239 people on board en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, sparking a massive search across Southeast Asia.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP