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Did The Malaysian Airliner Land? Here Are Possible Runways

The fate of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 isn't known — and officials have stated their search will now focus on a large area to the west of the plane's planned flight path from Kuala Lampur to Beijing. Experts say it isn't likely to have landed — in part because the large plane would attract notice.

Another reason for that belief is the long runway the Boeing 777 would require — at least 5,000 feet, by most estimates. With that number in hand, NPR member station WNYC has created a map of long runways that would theoretically be within the flight's range.

WNYC acknowledges that theories that the plane might have landed are "unusual" and "unlikely." But the plane's disappearance is often described with both of those terms, and the mystery of its whereabouts persists. So WNYC's Data News team plugged in the data and generated a map showing 634 possibilities.

Even if the plane didn't land at one of the airports, it still gives a sense of the huge territory confronting search teams. Here's what WNYC came up with:

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.