Australia takes charge of southern Indian Ocean search area for missing Malaysia Airlines jet

Australia has agreed to take charge of searching for the missing Malaysian airliner over a vast section of the Indian Ocean — one of two swaths the plane is believed to have entered after its last known radar contact near Malaysia.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott says he told Malaysia's leader Najib Razak that his country would scour the seas of the search area's southern corridor. Australia already has had two AP-3C Orion aircraft involved in the search, one of them looking north and west of the remote Cocos Islands.

Malaysian authorities say the plane also may have entered a northern corridor stretching over land from Southeast Asia northwest to Kazakhstan.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 with 239 people aboard went missing March 8. Investigators say it was deliberately diverted.