New satellite images show 122 objects that may be from plane

Updated: 2014-03-26 18:24


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New satellite images show 122 objects that may be from plane

A satellite photo, showing the locations and coordinates of unknown objects reported by the Malaysian Remote Sensing Agency (MRSA) in the Indian Ocean, is seen in this handout photo taken by the MRSA on March 23, 2014 and released on March 26, 2014.[Photo/Agencies]

KUALA LUMPUR - New satellite images have revealed more than 100 objects in the southern Indian Ocean that could be debris from a Malaysian jetliner missing for 18 days with 239 people on board, Malaysia's acting transport minister said on Wednesday.

The latest sighting came as searchers stepped up efforts to find some trace of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, thought to have crashed on March 8 after flying thousands of miles off course.

New satellite images show 122 objects that may be from plane
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"It must be emphasized that we cannot tell whether the potential objects are from MH370," Hishammuddin Hussein told a news conference. "Nevertheless, this is another new lead that will help direct the search operation."

The images were captured by France-based Airbus Defence & Space on Monday and showed 122 potential objects in a 400 sq km (155 sq mile) area of ocean, Hishammuddin said. The objects varied in size from one metre to 23 metres (75 ft) in length, he said.

A dozen aircraft from Australia, the United States, New Zealand, China, Japan and South Korea were once more scouring the seas some 2,500 km (1,550 miles) southwest of Perth in the hunt for wreckage on Wednesday, after bad weather the previous day forced the suspension of the search.

"The crash zone is as close to nowhere as it's possible to be but it's closer to Australia than anywhere else," Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said, before leading the country's parliament in a moment's silence.

"A considerable amount of debris has been sighted in the area where the flight was last recorded. Bad weather and inaccessibility has so far prevented any of it from being recovered. But we are confident that it will be."

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak this week confirmed Flight MH370, which vanished while flying to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur, had crashed in the southern Indian Ocean.

Citing satellite-data analysis by British company Inmarsat , he said there was no doubt the Boeing 777 came down in one of the most remote places on Earth - an implicit admission that everyone on board had died.

Recovery of wreckage could unlock clues about why and how the plane had diverted so far off course in one of aviation's most puzzling mysteries. Theories range from a hijacking to sabotage or a possible suicide by one of the pilots, but investigators have not ruled out technical problems.

Australia, China and France have all released satellite images over the past week showing possible debris in the same general area as the latest sighting, but no confirmed wreckage has been located.

Chinese vessels hunt for potential objects in S Indian Ocean

Chinese icebreaker Xuelong and warship Qiandaohu teamed up Wednesday to search for a 2-meter floating object reported earlier in the day by an aircraft hunting for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.

The coordinates of the suspicious item - 43.313 degrees south latitude and 95.246 east longitude - was sent to Xuelong at 0700 GMT, and the Antarctic research vessel immediately relayed the information to Qiandaohu, which was scouring waters nearby.

The two ships reached the target area two hours later and then teamed up to comb the patch of the southern Indian Ocean.

So far the crews have not located any suspicious object.

The prolonged and so far fruitless search and investigation have taken a toll, with dozens of distraught relatives of Chinese passengers accusing Malaysia of "delays and deception".

Malaysia's confused initial response to the plane's disappearance and a perception of poor communications have enraged many Chinese including a number of big-name Chinese entertainment stars. Dozens of Chinese celebrities have taken to social media to voice their anger and frustration towards the Malaysian government over its alleged mishandling of the matter.

Chinese special envoy, Zhang Yesui, met Malaysia's Najib on Wednesday and called for "unremitting efforts" to find the plane.

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