Just how big is the search area for the missing Malaysian jetliner?

Every news report mentions the area where the search is on for the missing Malaysia Airlines passenger jet, but just how big is the area?

At a press conference Monday, the Civil Aviation Chief Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said that searchers are covering an area of over 50 nautical miles, which is equal to 57.5 miles. The state of Texas pretty much dwarfs the search area. Below is a map of the surrounding countries and the search area with a U.S. map at the same scale superimposed. So it looks like the plane had traveled approximately the distance from Washington, D.C. to New York City when it disappeared.


Comparing the countries around the area where the Malaysia Airlines plane lost contact to the size of the United States.
Pam Tobey is the graphics editor of the Morning Mix Web team at The Washington Post and a member of the Presentation Desk’s Information Design graphics team.
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