Flight 370 Search Widened To Include Indian Ocean

There were some significant developments Thursday in the frustratingly unsuccessful effort to figure out what happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. But the fate of the plane isn’t any clearer now than it was last week. In fact, it’s more of a mystery than ever, as investigators have now widened their search area to include the Indian Ocean.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney made the announcement Thursday, and a senior U.S. official confirmed it to CNN. The reports are vague, but it seems that in the four to five hours after the plane sent its last last transponder signal, a separate system on the flight continued to send "pings” to a nearby satellite. Carney implied — but didn’t outright state — that these pings indicated the plane’s location.

“We have an indication the plane went down in the Indian Ocean,” a senior Pentagon official confirmed ABC

Malaysian officials stressed that the plane wasn’t necessarily still flying when it sent those pings. Nevertheless, the Pentagon has deployed a warship, the USS Kidd, to the Indian Ocean to broaden the search.

If these reports are correct, they would suggest that the plane ended up going the opposite direction of its intended path at some point during the flight. According to one source, U.S. counterterrorism officials are investigating the possibility that somebody on board intentionally turned off the plane’s transponder before redirecting it “with the intention of using it later for another purpose,” but at this point, that’s still just one of many theories.

"The sad thing here is, we don't have enough information to say, 'It's not this, it's not that,'" former Secret Service agent Evy Poumpouras told CNN. "We're still at the point, six days later, it could be anything, and that's the frustrating thing."