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Rain was expected to hamper the hunt Monday for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet, as a growing number of planes focus on an expanded area of the south Indian Ocean where a French satellite detected potential debris.
Australian Maritime Safety Authority's rescue coordination center said the search area was expanded from 59,000 to 68,500 square kilometers (22,800-26,400 square miles), including a new separate area because of data provided by France on Sunday.
The U.S. Pacific command said it was sending a black box locator to the region in case a debris field is located. The Towed Pinger Locator has highly sensitive listening capability so that if the wreck site is located, it can hear the black box pinger down to a depth of about 20,000 feet (6,100 meters), Cmdr. Chris Budde, a U.S. Seventh Fleet operations officer, said in a statement.
Two Chinese Ilyushin IL-76 planes joined the search from Perth, increasing the number of aircraft to 10 from eight a day earlier, AMSA said.
A graphic provided by Australian Maritime Safety Authority shows an area in the southern Indian Ocean that the AMSA is concentrating its search for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. (AP).
It said the weather in the search area, about 2,500 kilometers (1,550 miles) southwest of Perth, was expected to deteriorate with rain likely.
Australian Transport Minister Warren Truss said "nothing of note'' was found Sunday, which he described as a "fruitless day.''
"It's going to be a challenge, but we'll stick at it,'' he told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio before the first aircraft left Perth at dawn.
He said that the latest search area based on French radar data was 850 kilometers (530 miles) north of the previous search zone. He said it was not the same area that had been identified as the most likely place where the aircraft may have entered the sea, "but ... we've got to check out all the options.''
"We're just, I guess, clutching at whatever little piece of information comes along to try and find a place where we might be able to concentrate the efforts,'' he added.
A cyclone bearing down on the Australian northwest coast "could stir up less favorable weather,'' he said.
Flight 370 vanished March 8 with 239 people aboard while en route from