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Flight MH370 hunt leads to debris off Australia coast

world Updated: Mar 21, 2014 08:39 IST
Missing malaysian plan


The owner of a Norwegian car carrier said it planned to search through the night for two large objects sighted off Australia that could be debris from a missing Malaysian jetliner, despite the official search being suspended because it was too dark.

The Hoegh St. Petersburg was the first ship to arrive in the area where the two objects were spotted by satellite four days ago in one of the remotest parts of the globe, around 2,500 km (1,500 miles) southwest of Perth.

Read: India to deploy P-8I, C-130J planes to locate Malaysian airliner

"We will continue searching during the night at reduced speed and with all spotlights available, and we will increase the speed again when the light comes back (around 2300 GMT)," Ingar Skiaker, Chief Executive of Hoegh Autoliners, told a news conference in Oslo.

"We have not had any report of any finds, but if or when they find something... the captain will report to the Australian authorities first," he said.

Hoegh Autoliners said as far as they knew theirs was still the only ship in the area in the southern Indian Ocean, with two other ships, Australia's HMAS Success and a merchant ship are en route, expected to arrive Friday.

Read: Satellites searching for missing plane have limits

Two Royal Australia Air Force AP-3C Orions, a US Navy P-8 Poseidon and a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion are also involved in the search.

A Royal Australian Navy ship equipped to recover any objects was en route and China's icebreaker for Antarctic research, Xuelong, or Snow Dragon, was to set off from Perth, state news agency Xinhua cited maritime authorities as saying.

Read: China's request for entering Indian waters turned down

Read: Hunt for flight MH370: Norwegian ship reaches spot to check debris

The Hoegh St. Petersburg would stay to help in the search for as long as it was needed, a company spokesman said.

"We are thinking about those who are waiting for news. We are thinking of the relatives," Skiaker said.

The car carrier was on its way from Madagascar to Melbourne when it got a request from Australian authorities to assist in looking for the objects.

The larger object measured up to 24 metres (79 ft) long and appeared to be floating on water several thousand metres deep, Australian officials said. The second object was about 5 metres (16 feet) long.

The satellite images, provided by US company DigitalGlobe DGI.N, were taken on March 16, meaning that the possible debris could by now have drifted far from the original site.

Australia is seeking higher resolution images of the objects, perhaps distinct enough to identify any markings.

Read: We've not hidden anything about MH 370, says Malaysian consul

No confirmed wreckage from Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has been found since it vanished from air traffic control screens off Malaysia's east coast early on March 8, less than an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur for Beijing with 239 people on board.

(With inputs from AP)

Read:Flight MH370: Seven leading theories on its disappearance


AMSA handout of Object 1 possibly connected with MH370 search


AMSA handout of Object 2 possibly connected with MH370 search