TODAY   |  March 12, 2014

Malaysian authority: ‘We will never give up hope’

Malaysian authorities have again expanded the search area around where they say Flight 370 may have been picked up on military radar. Hundreds of thousands of people have gone online to assist in the five-day-old search. NBC’s Tom Costello reports.

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>> yeah, that's right. this malaysian air flight 370 is once again our top story. some new developments in the search for that missing jetliner. malaysian authorities have again expanded the search area around where they say the plane may have been last picked up on military radar. nbc's tom cost tell slow monitoring it all for us. tom, good morning to you.

>> reporter: good morning. this is confusion. the malaysian military still isn't sure whether this is the area in the top left, the upper northwest quadrant here, if that's the area where the plane was last seen, near the island of palau per rack. look at the yellow line here, the course for the flight, headed out over malasia, out over the south china sea toward vietnam. they believe it doubled back, as reflected in red here, coming back over malaysia, back toward the strait of malaka and it disappeared. now, the indian navy offering to help search for the plane in this area, in the northwest. that's the andaman sea . as america wakes up this morning, a fifth day of searching is coming to an end in southeast asia . the search zone expanded to include both the malaysian east and west coast, amid reports from the malaysian military that the plane may have doubled back with a sharp left turn , headed toward the indian ocean . but who was in command? still no sign of malaysia airlines flight 370. malaysian authorities provided an update just a short time ago

>> this is unprecedented, what we are going through, coordinating so many countries together. it's not something that is easy and each time that passes, i fear that this search and rescue becomes just a search. but we will never give up hope.

>> reporter: the search zone has been expanded to a 27,000-square-nautical-mile area. it wasn't until day five of the search for the missing air france plane in 2009 that searchers first spotted floating pieces in the water.

>> but when you get out there on board a ship, the world becomes very large, that ocean does. and the plane becomes very small.

>> reporter: david gal slow with the woods hold team that used remotely operated streaks find the actual air france wreckage two years after it crashed. finding the malaysia airlines plane, he says, seems like an even bigger challenge.

>> we are at the very beginning of what might be a very long process. and in the sense, haven't even taken the first step of knowing that we are looking under the sea for this plane.

>> reporter: meanwhile, a colorado company has deployed two of its high-resolution satellites over the search area, taking photographs and asking anyone online to help search for any signs of the plane.

>> instead of having one analyst looking at the whole image, we will split it up into little chunks and put it online and we asked for people to help us identify these areas that look anomalous or look like damaged aircraft or wreckage.

>> reporter: already, more than half a million people have looked at the images, tagging anything that looks like a clue. so many, the website has crashed. now the theories of what happened to this plane include a catastrophic malfunction, an in-flight breakup, a hijacking, a suicide attack, something with the crew, but to prove any of those theories, they have to find the plane. savannah?

>> tom costello, thank you so