Malaysia airlinesBritish satellite telecommunications company Inmarsat has said that its network has received signals from the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 that went missing March 8. In a statement, Inmarsat said: “Routine, automated signals were registered on the Inmarsat network from Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 during its flight from Kuala Lumpur.”

“This information was provided to our partner SITA, which in turn has shared it with the Malaysia Airlines,” Xinhua quoted the statement as saying. BBC reported Friday that a satellite system operated by Inmarsat received an automated signal from flight MH370 at least five hours after the plane was reported lost.

That could mean that the plane may have been flying for more than five hours after it disappeared, according to the BBC report. Inmarsat is a provider of global mobile satellite communications services. The Malaysia Airlines flight with 239 passengers and crew on board vanished mysteriously about an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur early morning March 8. It was presumed to have crashed off the Vietnamese coast in the South China Sea.

The 227 passengers on the flight included five Indians, 154 Chinese and 38 Malaysians. Contact with the plane was lost along with its radar signal when it was flying over the air traffic control area of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. Search and rescue operations by many nations have not yet found any trace of the plane.