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Missing Jet's Search Zone Expands to Three Million Square Miles

Malaysia's transport minister speaks to Chuck Hagel about using U.S. satellite data in the search.

The search for missing Flight 370 now covers almost three million square miles, Malaysia’s transport minister said Tuesday as the hunt entered its eleventh day.

The search is focusing on the northern and southern corridors where the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 may have flown, based on information collected from radar and satellite data, Hishammuddin Hussein told reporters in Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysia had "contacted every country with relevant satellite data," he added.

The above graphic shows the possible last known position of the missing plane based on satellite data. Source: Malaysian government.Reuters

“I was speaking to [Defense] Secretary Chuck Hagel this morning regarding the possibility of looking at U.S. satellites and aircraft and vessels to assist us in the southern corridor,” Hishammuddin said.

The U.S has got "possibly the best ability to assist" in searching the "enormous area that needs to be covered," he added.

Australia and Indonesia are currently leading efforts to find the jet in the southern search zone, while China and Kyrgyzstan are spear-heading the hunt in the north.

Hishammuddin said the area being searched was 2.24 million nautical square miles, which equates to 2.96 million square miles. That is an area roughly the size of Australia.

Hishammuddin added that Malaysia was asking some countries “to take another look at their primary radar data” in the hope of finding more clues about the airliner’s last movements.

He spoke to reporters hours after authorities confirmed that jet's first turn was made using its computer navigational system rather than its manual controls, authorities confirmed to NBC News - reinforcing the theory that the plane was deliberately diverted.

- Henry Austin and Alastair Jamieson