After China releases images of 'debris', search for missing Malaysian jet MH370 widens

The search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 was set to resume on Sunday with greater resources and boosted by a new satellite image of unidentified floating debris. Full coverage | Search area: Distant, dangerous, dazzling

world Updated: Mar 23, 2014 13:13 IST
#MH 370,MH 370 news,Missing Malaysia Airlines

The search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 was set to resume on Sunday with greater resources and boosted by a new satellite image of unidentified floating debris.

Coordinating the hunt in the vast southern Indian Ocean, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said overnight "further attempts will be made to establish whether the objects sighted are related to MH370," on Sunday.

A grainy March 18 photo released by China's State Administration of Science Technology and Industry showed an object measuring 22.5 metres by 13 metres (74 by 43 feet) in the southern Indian Ocean.

The location was just 120 kilometres (75 miles) distant from where March 16 satellite images -- released by Australia on Thursday -- had detected two pieces of possible wreckage in the remote ocean about 2,500 kilometres (1,500 miles) southwest of Perth.

Recent updates from AMSA

# Four civil aircraft now in MH370 search area. Three aircraft currently en route.

# A civil aircraft arrived in the MH370 search area at midday AEDT. Five more aircraft are now en route.

# AMSA's latest update on the MH370 search is available here:

# Air observers for today's MH370 search include 20 SES volunteers from Western Australia.

# A total of eight aircraft will be involved in today's MH370 search. HMAS Success is also conducting search activities today.

# Two civil aircraft and a US Navy P8 Poseidon aircraft are now en route to the MH370 search area.

Images released by China

A Chinese satellite image of an object spotted in the southern Indian Ocean that could be wreckage from missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370. (Reuters)

Search area of the reported position by Chinese satellites

Credit : AMSA

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"AMSA has plotted the position and it falls within Saturday's search area," the statement said.

"The object was not sighted on Saturday. AMSA will take this information into account in tomorrow's (Sunday's) search plans.

The Royal Australian Navy's HMAS Success arrived late Saturday in the search area where two merchant ships were also taking part in the effort that turned up sightings of other objects during good weather conditions on Saturday.

"A civil aircraft... reported sighting a number of small objects with the naked eye, including a wooden pallet, within a radius of five kilometres," AMSA said.

Satellite images released by Australia

AMSA handout of Object 1 possibly connected with MH370 search

AMSA handout of Object 2 possibly connected with MH370 search

"A Royal New Zealand Air Force P3 Orion aircraft with specialist electro-optic observation equipment was diverted to the location, arriving after the first aircraft left but only reported sighting clumps of seaweed."

The Orion dropped a marker buoy to track the movement of the material and a merchant ship in the 36,000-square-kilometre area was tasked with relocating and seeking to identify the material.

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Chinese and British naval ships are also steaming to join the search and the new image offered welcome support for the decision to deploy so many resources without confirmation that the objects are pieces of wreckage.

Australian media have reported that two Chinese aircraft and a Japanese plane were also due to take part in the coming days.

Australian Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss vowed Saturday there would be no let up in the search.

Search area from 18th March to 23rd March

Credit : AMSA

The operation has seen already 15 sorties flown and more than 150 hours of air time logged, AMSA said.

Six planes, including four Orion anti-submarine aircraft packed with state-of-the-art surveillance equipment, scoured the area for a third straight day Saturday.

MH370, carrying 239 people, dropped off civilian radar on March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, and two weeks later Malaysian investigators still believe it was "deliberately diverted" by someone on board.

First Published: Mar 23, 2014 07:37 IST