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No sign missing Malaysia plane neared Australia: PM

SYDNEY - Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Monday said he had no information that missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 may have come close to Australia, but conceded the incident was "deeply mysterious".

The Malaysian government has revealed the investigation into the missing jet indicates it was deliberately diverted and flew for several hours after leaving its scheduled flight path -- either north towards Central Asia, or towards the southern Indian Ocean.

Asked whether Australian agencies had detected the plane close to Australia, given its western coast borders the Indian Ocean, Abbott said: "I don’t have any information to that effect.

"But all of our agencies that could possibly help in this area are scouring their data to see if there’s anything that they can add to the understanding of this mystery," he told reporters.

Australia has two Orion surveillance aircraft assisting with the search for the plane, which was en route to Beijing when it disappeared, and Abbott said one of those had now been redeployed to the Indian Ocean search.

"It’s my intention to talk later today with the Malaysians to see whether there’s additional help that Australia can offer," he said.

Abbott said the incident could lead to changes in how aircraft are tracked.

"I think that there will be a lot of analysis done of this particular event which thus far remains deeply, deeply mysterious," he said.

"And I think there will be a lot of lessons learnt, and I dare say some of those lessons will involve the tracking of aircraft."

AFP


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