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Australia: MH370 was likely on autopilot

Australian authorities said Thursday morning that Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 was likely on autopilot with an "unresponsive" crew when it flew into the southern Indian Ocean.

"It is highly, highly likely that the aircraft was on autopilot, otherwise it could not have followed the orderly path that has been identified through the satellite sightings," Australian Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss told local reporters.

Australian officials believe the plane was on autopilot until it ran out of fuel above the Indian Ocean. Australian authorities also suggested the crew's unresponsiveness may have been caused by a lack of oxygen available on the plane.

The report came shortly after officials shifted the underwater search for the plane southward. The next underwater search, which will be led by a contractor chosen by Australian authorities, is expected to begin in August. Search teams have yet to find any trace of the plane, which disappeared on March 8 with 239 passengers on board.