China spots new ‘missing Malaysian plane debris’ in the Indian Ocean

  • Reuters, Kuala Lumpur
  • Updated: Mar 23, 2014 01:27 IST
  • Malaysian transport minister Hishammuddin Hussein shows a note from the Chinese ambassador stating that they have received new satellite images during the search for missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370, at a press conference near Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang. (AFP PHOTO)

    MH370: Extraordinary riddle

    Malaysian transport minister Hishammuddin Hussein shows a note from the Chinese ambassador stating that they have received new satellite images during the search for...

  • Two Chinese Ilyushin IL-76s aircraft sit on the tarmac at RAAF Pearce base ready to join the search missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in Perth, Australia. (AP photo)

    MH370: Extraordinary riddle

    Two Chinese Ilyushin IL-76s aircraft sit on the tarmac at RAAF Pearce base ready to join the search missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in Perth, Australia. (AP photo)

  • Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Loadmasters, Sergeant Adam Roberts (L) and Flight Sergeant John Mancey, launch a

    MH370: Extraordinary riddle

    Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Loadmasters, Sergeant Adam Roberts (L) and Flight Sergeant John Mancey, launch a 'Self Locating Data Marker Buoy' from a C-130J Hercules...

  • A veiled Muslim woman (R) waits at a stall selling t-shirts in memory of the missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) MH370 flight outside the Putra mosque in Putrajaya. AFP

    MH370: Extraordinary riddle

    A veiled Muslim woman (R) waits at a stall selling t-shirts in memory of the missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) MH370 flight outside the Putra mosque in Putrajaya. AFP

  • Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Warrant Officer Michal Mikeska looks out of a RAAF C-130J Hercules aircraft as it flies over the southern Indian Ocean during the search for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370. REUTERS

    MH370: Extraordinary riddle

    Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Warrant Officer Michal Mikeska looks out of a RAAF C-130J Hercules aircraft as it flies over the southern Indian Ocean during the search...

  • A family member of a passenger onboard Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 attends a routine briefing given by Malaysian government and military representatives at Lido Hotel in Beijing. REUTERS

    MH370: Extraordinary riddle

    A family member of a passenger onboard Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 attends a routine briefing given by Malaysian government and military representatives at Lido Hotel...

  • A Chinese woman who is a relative of a passenger from the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, with her three-year-old daughter and another family member as they arrive at Metro Park Lido Hotel in Beijing. AFP

    MH370: Extraordinary riddle

    A Chinese woman who is a relative of a passenger from the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, with her three-year-old daughter and another family member as they...

  • A man writes a message on a board for passengers onboard missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 and their family members, at Dataran Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur March 22, 2014. REUTERS

    MH370: Extraordinary riddle

    A man writes a message on a board for passengers onboard missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 and their family members, at Dataran Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur March 22,...

  • A Royal Australian Air Force AP-3C Orion flies past the HMAS Success as they search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 debris or wreckage in the southern Indian Ocean. (AFP photo)

    MH370: Extraordinary riddle

    A Royal Australian Air Force AP-3C Orion flies past the HMAS Success as they search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 debris or wreckage in the southern Indian...

  • Flight Lieutenant Jason Nichols aboard a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) AP-3C Orion, looks ahead towards the Australian navy ship HMAS Success as they search for missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 over the southern Indian Ocean. (Reuters)

    MH370: Extraordinary riddle

    Flight Lieutenant Jason Nichols aboard a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) AP-3C Orion, looks ahead towards the Australian navy ship HMAS Success as they search for...

  • Two Chinese Ilyushin IL-76s aircraft sit on the tarmac at RAAF Pearce base ready to join the search missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in Perth, Australia. (AP Photo)

    MH370: Extraordinary riddle

    Two Chinese Ilyushin IL-76s aircraft sit on the tarmac at RAAF Pearce base ready to join the search missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in Perth, Australia. (AP Photo)

  • Sergeant Samuel Carson prepares meals for crew aboard a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) AP-3C Orion, as they search for missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean. (Reuters)

    MH370: Extraordinary riddle

    Sergeant Samuel Carson prepares meals for crew aboard a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) AP-3C Orion, as they search for missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 in the...

  • A neighbourhood security patrol cycle pass the Metro Park Lido Hotel where Chinese relatives of passengers from the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 are meeting with Malaysian officials. (AFP photo)

    MH370: Extraordinary riddle

    A neighbourhood security patrol cycle pass the Metro Park Lido Hotel where Chinese relatives of passengers from the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 are meeting...

Chinese satellites have spotted a new object in the southern Indian Ocean that could be wreckage from a missing Malaysian airliner carrying 239 people, and ships are on their way to investigate, China and Malaysia said on Saturday.

The object, around 22 metres long (74ft) and 13 metres (43ft) wide, was spotted early on March 18 around 120 km (75 miles) from a location where possible debris was sighted by another satellite on March 16 in the remote ocean off western Australia, China's State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense (SASTIND) said on its website.

Read: Final communication from MH 370 published by British Daily

The Chinese sighting was first revealed by Malaysia's Defence Minister and acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, who was handed a note with details during a news conference in Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysian transport minister Hishammuddin Hussein shows a note from the Chinese ambassador stating that they have received new satellite images during the search for missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370, at a press conference near Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang. (AFP PHOTO)

"Chinese ships have been dispatched to the area," Hishammuddin said.

China said an image of the object had been captured by its high-definition earth observation satellite "Gaofen-1". The location was south by west of the possible debris announced by Australia on Thursday, SASTIND said.

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 latest possible lead in the hunt for the jetliner comes two weeks after it disappeared from civilian radar screens less than an hour after taking-off from the Malaysian capital on a scheduled flight to Beijing.

Read: Police intervene as Chinese anger mounts over fate of MH370

Searches by more than two dozen countries have so far turned up little but frustration and fresh questions about Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.

Remote seas
The international search for the plane has in recent days focused on the southern Indian Ocean far off Australia's western coast after satellite images captured floating objects that investigators believed could be parts of an aircraft.

Six aircraft and two merchant ships have been scouring the area, but there were no reports of any wreckage being found.

Australia, which announced the first satellite image and is coordinating the rescue, has cautioned the objects might be a lost shipping container or other debris and may have since sunk.

"Even though this is not a definite lead, it is probably more solid than any other lead around the world and that is why so much effort and interest is being put into this search," Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss told reporters, before latest Chinese report.


Read:

Australia widens MH370 search


A US Navy P8 Poseidon aircraft takes off from a runway at Perth International Airport, en route to the Indian Ocean. An international search force resumed the hunt for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. (Reuters photo)

According to several people familiar with the matter, India has told Malaysian investigators that it had found no evidence the plane flew through its airspace, making the satellite debris lead more solid.

It was the first formal notification that India had come up empty-handed after checking its radar records, the sources said.

China, Japan and India were sending more planes and Australian and Chinese navy vessels were also steaming towards the southern zone, more than 2,000 km (1,200 miles) southwest of Perth.

Weather conditions were good, with 10 km (6 miles) of visibility, according to officials - a crucial boost for a search that is relying more on human eyes than the technical wizardry of the most advanced aircraft in the world.

"I am not going to give up"
Aircraft and ships have also renewed the search in the Andaman Sea between India and Thailand, going over areas in the northern corridor that have already been exhaustively swept to find some clue to unlock one of the biggest mysteries in modern aviation.

The Pentagon said it was considering a request from Malaysia for sonar equipment. The P-8 and P-3 spy planes, which the United States is already deploying in the search, also carry "sonobuoys" that are dropped into the sea and use sonar signals to search the waters below.

Investigators suspect the Boeing was deliberately diverted thousands of miles from its scheduled path. They say they are focusing on hijacking or sabotage but have not ruled out technical problems.

The search itself has strained ties between China and Malaysia, with Beijing repeatedly leaning on the Southeast Asian nation to step up its hunt and do a better job at looking after the relatives of the Chinese passengers.

Read: Satellites searching for missing plane have limits
China's request for entering Indian waters turned down
Hunt for flight MH370: Norwegian ship reaches spot to check debris

This picture shows prayers and messages written by relatives to the missing passengers in the meeting room of Lido hotel where relatives are staying in Beijing. (AFP photo)

For families of the passengers, the process has proved to be an emotionally wrenching battle to elicit information.

In a statement on Saturday, relatives in Beijing lambasted a Malaysian delegation for "concealing the truth" and "making fools" out of the families after they said they left a meeting without answering all their questions.

"This kind of conduct neglects the lives of all the passengers, shows contempt for all their families, and even more, tramples on the dignity of Chinese people and the Chinese government," they said.

Some experts have argued that the reluctance to share sensitive radar data and capabilities in a region fraught with suspicion amid China's military rise and territorial disputes may have hampered the search.

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