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Missing Malaysian Jetliner Confuses World That’s Online 24/7

The disappearance five days ago of a Malaysian Airline Systems Bhd. aircraft with 239 people on board is confounding search teams and a global audience used to around-the-clock connectivity and real-time updates.

The Boeing Co. 777-200 wide-body, among the world’s safest planes, vanished without any distress call or other indication something was amiss. Half a week later, nine nations including the U.S. and Australia have joined a search that while focused on the Gulf of Thailand between Malaysia and Vietnam now extends west to Indonesia and east to the South China Sea.