Searches have started in two air corridors for missing flight MH370, Malaysia’s transport minister confirms.

Malaysia says the plane was intentionally diverted and could have flown on either a northern or southern arc from its last known position.

Twenty-six countries have now been asked to help find the jet, which disappeared over a week ago with 239 people on board.

The airline believes the co-pilot spoke the final words to ground controllers.

Malaysian officials previously said the last words from the cockpit – “All right, good night” – came after the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System, which transmits key information about the plane to the ground, had been deliberately switched off.

It had been unclear who said those words, but Malaysia Airlines says it now believes it was co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid.

Meanwhile, investigators are looking at a northern arc stretching from the border of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to northern Thailand, and a southern arc from Indonesia to the Indian Ocean.

“Today, I can confirm that search and rescue operations in the northern and southern corridors have already begun,” the Malaysian Transport Minister, Hishammuddin Hussein, told a press conference on Monday.

Australia is taking charge of the southern vector search for the missing Malaysian plane.

“Over the past two days, we have been recalibrating the search for MH370,” said Mr Hussein.

“It remains a significant diplomatic, technical and logistical challenge. Malaysia is encouraged by the progress made during such a short period of time.”

Meanwhile, police have searched the homes of Captain Zaharie Shah and co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid. A flight simulator taken from the captain’s home was being reassembled and examined at police headquarters, officials said.

The plane left Kuala Lumpur for Beijing at 00:40 local time (16:40 GMT) on 8 March.
It disappeared off air traffic controllers’ screens at about 01:20, when it was over the South China Sea.

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