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Mar 23, 2014 9:37 PM by Associated Press

New data expand search for Malaysian jet debris

PERTH, Australia (AP) - Rain is expected to hamper the search Monday for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet, as a growing number of planes focus on an expanded area of the southern Indian Ocean where French radar detected potential debris.

Australian Maritime Safety Authority's rescue coordination center says the search area is being expanded from 22,800-26,400 square miles on Monday, including a new separate area covered by data provided by France on Sunday.

AMSA says two Chinese planes have joined the search from Perth, increasing the number of aircraft from eight to 10.

It says the weather in the search area, about 1,550 miles southwest of Perth, is expected to deteriorate with rain likely.

Australian Transport Minister Warren Truss says "nothing of note" was found Sunday, which he described as a "fruitless day."

He says the new search area based on French radar data is 530 miles north of the previous search zone.

Flight 370 vanished March 8 with 239 people aboard while en route from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing, setting off a multinational search that has turned up no confirmed pieces and nothing conclusive on what happened to the jet.

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