Australia has spotted two objects in the search for Malaysia's missing plane in the southern Indian Ocean and was sending a ship to investigate, Malaysia's transport minister said Monday.
"A few minutes ago the (Malaysian) prime minister received a call from the prime minister of Australia, who informed him that an Australian search aircraft had located two objects in the Australian search area, one circular and one rectangular," Hishammuddin Hussein said.
Earlier on Monday morning, Chinese air force aircraft had spotted what could possibly debris from the lost Malaysian airlines flight MH370 in southern Indian Ocean off the Australian coast.
Initial reports said the crew from the Chinese air force’s IL 76 aircraft saw two big floating objects amid smaller ones floating in the search area in a remote part of the Indian Ocean. The suspected debris was scattered over a radius of several kilometers.
“The crew has reported the coordinates -- 95.1113 degrees east longitude and 42.5453 south altitude -- to the Australian command center as well as Chinese icebreaker Xuelong, which is en route to the sea area,” a report from the official Xinhua news agency said Monday noon.
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A Chinese Ilyushin IL-76s aircraft sit on the tarmac at RAAF Pearce base ready to join the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in Perth, Australia, Sunday. AP
“A Xinhua correspondent aboard the IL-76 aircraft said the searchers saw two relatively big floating objects with many white smaller ones scattered within a radius of several kilometers,” the report added.
This is the latest in a series of satellite images from China and France that seemed to have thrown some light about the whereabouts of the flight which has been missing since March 8 with 239 people on board.
More than two dozen countries and scores of ships and aircraft have been searching for the aircraft; the search first began over the South China Sea before moving on to areas across the vast Indian Ocean and even parts of Bay of Bengal.
Chinese Satellite image
A Chinese satellite image of an object spotted in the southern Indian Ocean that could be wreckage from missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370. (Reuters)
The Chinese air force aircraft took off from a base in Perth to search for the aircraft.
This was the first Chinese air search operation in the southern Indian Ocean for the missing plane since two Chinese military aircraft arrived in Perth on Saturday.
The search operation lasted for about an hour and covered an area of 400 km long and 30 km wide, where satellite imagery earlier spotted suspicious objects possibly related to the missing plane.
“Currently, visibility is low in the area, with fog and waves 2-3 meters high. Weather forecast suggests there may be rain,” the report said.
China and France, on Saturday and Sunday respectively, spotted objects possibly linked to the missing plane in the southern Indian Ocean through satellite imagery.
Their findings appeared to have validated an earlier Australian lead and raised the possibility of finally locating the missing plane.