SYDNEY - The search for a missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner suffered a further setback on Thursday after Australian officials said wreckage from the aircraft was not on the seabed in the area they had identified.

Flight MH370, carrying 239 passengers and crew, disappeared from radar screens on March 8 shortly after taking off from Kuala Lumpur bound for Beijing.

Investigators say what little evidence they have to work with, including the loss of communications, suggests the Boeing 777 was deliberately diverted thousands of kilometers from its scheduled route.

The search was narrowed last month after a series of acoustic pings thought to be from the plane's black box recorders were heard near where analysis of satellite data put its last location, some 1,600 km (1,000 miles) off the northwest coast of Australia.

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