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Company Implements Crowdsourcing Search For Missing Malaysian Airlines Plane

Malaysia Airline passenger jets are shown parked on the tarmac at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport on March 8, 2014 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing carrying 239 onboard was reported missing after the crew failed to check in as scheduled while flying over the sea between Malaysia and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, according to published reports.  (Photo by How Foo Yeen/Getty Images)

Malaysia Airline passenger jets are shown parked on the tarmac at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport on March 8, 2014 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing carrying 239 onboard was reported missing after the crew failed to check in as scheduled while flying over the sea between Malaysia and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, according to published reports. (Photo by How Foo Yeen/Getty Images)

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LONGMONT, Colo. (CBS/AP) — About 600,000 people have scanned satellite images from DigitalGlobe Inc. for clues to the fate of a missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner, the company said Tuesday.

Users of the website can tag images if they see wreckage, life rafts, oil slicks or other evidence.

DigitalGlobe is calling it a crowdsourcing campaign to help search crews. The company plans daily updates of the images on the search website, http://www.tomnod.com.

Shay Har-Noy, DigitalGlobe’s senior director for geospatial big data, called the response “quite overwhelming.”

“Our servers are having a hard time keeping up with it,” he said.

Unfortunately, a visit to the website on Thursday morning reflected that — an error message showed up, along with an apology and information that the site is experiencing “technical difficulties” but hopes to be back online today.

U.S. government agencies have access to DigitalGlobe’s images as well, he said.

Flight MH370, a Boeing 777, left Kuala Lumpur on Saturday with 239 people on board. The Malaysian military said Tuesday its radar showed it changed course over the sea and reached the Strait of Malacca, hundreds of miles from its last position reported by civilian authorities.

Har-Noy said DigitalGlobe started getting emails from interested individuals shortly after the plane disappeared, asking for satellite images they could examine for signs of the plane.

He said the company has provided satellite images for five or 10 search operations around the world in the past 18 months.

DigitalGlobe, based in Longmont, Colo., has five imaging satellites in orbit.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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