Pic: AP.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Search and rescue experts say the search for a missing Malaysia Airlines plane may hinge on inexact satellite data.

A satellite was able to connect with the aircraft’s messaging system once an hour for four to five hours after the system was shut down and the plane disappeared from radar screens. The satellite tilted its antenna to receive messages from the plane, although no location information was exchanged.

Investigators have used the antenna angle, along with radar data, to draw two vast arcs where the plane is believed to be.

Air crash investigators have never used this kind of satellite data before to try to find a missing plane, but it may be the best clue left.