Malaysia Airlines Flight: Obama Calls Missing Plane ‘Top Priority’ As Search Area Narrows

Finding Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, the Boeing 777-200 missing since March 8, is a “top priority” for the United States, U.S. President Barack Obama said in an interview Wednesday. At the same time, American and British investigators believe they have narrowed the Malaysia Airlines plane’s location down to just a pair of possible flight paths — that both point to the South Pole.

“We have put every resource that we have available at the disposal of the search process,” Obama told the Dallas TV station KDFW. “There’s been close cooperation with the Malaysian government. Anybody who typically deals with anything related to our aviation system is available.”

The family of the single missing American adult on board the Malaysia Airlines flight, IBM sales executive Phil Wood, lives in Texas.

Obama said that U.S. National Transportation Safety Board is already participating in the investigation into the flight’s disappearance, and the FBI will begin work this week examining data from computer hard drives found in the homes of the Flight 370 pilot and co-pilot.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families. I want them to be assured that we consider this a top priority, and we’re going to keep on working,” the president said.

Obama is set to make a previously planned trip to Malaysia in late April. That trip will go ahead as scheduled, regardless of the Malaysia Airlines situation, though undoubtedly the search for the plane — especially if it remains lost without a trace by the time Obama arrives — is certain to be a hot topic of discussion between the U.S president and Malaysian leaders.

Despite offers by United States authorities to help with the Malaysia Airlines investigation, the Malaysia government only this week accepted American assistance.

“We’re working with authorities, but we don’t have any theories,” said U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

Nonetheless, American and British investigators have been examining evidence and have now drastically narrowed the areas where they believe the Malaysia Airlines plane may have ended up, either intact or having crashed, according to an ABC News report.

Using data from “pings” sent from the plane to an orbiting satellite, which the investigators say have been more helpful than they originally anticipated, the U.S. and British investigators have figured out that there are two routes that the Malaysia Airlines flight could have taken after cutting off communications with the ground.

Pointing in the direction of the South Pole, the investigators have concluded that either flight path would end somewhere off the coast of Australia. They have given their data to Australian authorities to continue the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 in and around that country.