Missing MH370: US company puts crowdsourcing to work in search for plane

Missing MH370: US company puts crowdsourcing to work in search for plane

DENVER - A Colorado-based company has put crowdsourcing to work in the search for a missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner, inviting Internet users to comb through satellite images of over 3,200 square km of seawater for any sign of wreckage, the company said on Tuesday.

DigitalGlobe Inc used two of its satellites to collect imagery from an area between the Gulf of Thailand and the South China Sea where the Boeing 777-200ER with 239 passengers and crew on board was at first believed to have crashed after it went missing early on Saturday, the firm said on its website.

The effort by DigitalGlobe was launched just before Malaysia's military indicated the flight might have gone way off course, which could place its last known location hundreds of kilometres from where DigitalGlobe collected satellite imagery for its crowdsourcing project.

The company placed the images on its crowdsourcing website Tomnod on Monday and invited the public to join in the search for any sign of the plane, whose disappearance has become the focus of one of the most baffling mysteries in recent aviation history.

The flight last made contact with civilian air traffic control roughly midway between Kota Bharu, Malaysia, and the southern tip of Vietnam while flying at an altitude of 10,670m.

"If there is something to see on the surface (of the water), we will see it," Luke Barrington, DigitalGlobe's senior manager for geospatial big data, told the Denver Post. "But the question is if we are looking in the right area," he added.

A Malaysian military officer told Reuters that flight MH370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing appears to have turned around and made it to the Straits of Malacca, instead of to the northeast of the country where initial search efforts were conducted.

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