Australian search planes have been diverted to find two
objects in the southern Indian Ocean "possibly related" to the search
for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.The Australian
Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) says it has received an expert
assessment of commercial satellite imagery of objects it suspects may be
debris from the flight.AMSA spokesman John Young says the images indicate that one of the objects measures around 24 metres in length.
Mr Young emphasised the objects may be difficult to locate and they may not be related to the search.
objects are relatively indistinct on the imagery. I don't profess to be
an expert in assessing the imagery, but those who are expert indicate
they are credible sightings," he said."The indications to me is
of objects that are a reasonable size and probably awash with water
bobbing up and down under the surface."Four aircraft have been reoriented to an area 2,500 kilometres south-west of Perth as a result of the information.
An RAAF pilot flies an AP-3C Orion over the Indian Ocean yesterday. (ADF: Hamish Paterson)
Prime Minister Tony Abbott told Parliament
this afternoon that he has spoken with his Malaysian counterpart but
warned the objects may not be related to the search.Flight MH370 has been missing since it disappeared en route to Beijing from Malaysia on March 8.
So far the investigation has focused on the possibility that the plane was deliberately diverted from its flight path.
The plane is thought to have travelled in either of two directions: north west into Asia or south west into the Indian Ocean.
Australia has been leading the search in the southern vector, specifically an area 3,000 kilometres south-west of Perth.
says the search zone covers 600,000 square kilometres of ocean and has
been plotted using data based on the last satellite relay signals sent
by the plane.The search now encompasses an area stretching 7.7
million square kilometres - an area larger than the entire land mass of
Australia.MH370 thought likely to have flown into Indian OceanLast
night a source close to the investigation told Reuters that authorities
probing the jet's disappearance believed it most likely flew into the
southern Indian Ocean.That view was based on the lack of any
evidence from countries along the northern corridor that the plane
entered their airspace, and the failure to find any trace of wreckage in
searches in the upper part of the southern corridor."The working
assumption is that it went south, and furthermore that it went to the
southern end of that corridor," said the source, who spoke on condition
of anonymity.China, which is leading the northern corridor search
with Kazakhstan, said it had not yet found any sign of the aircraft
crossing into its territory.Malaysian and US officials believe
the aircraft was deliberately diverted perhaps thousands of miles off
course, but an exhaustive background search of the passengers and crew
aboard has not yielded anything that might explain why.Last week,
a source familiar with official US assessments said it was thought most
likely the plane flew south, where it presumably would have run out of
fuel and crashed into the sea.Overcome relatives grow angry with bungled investigationMalaysian
authorities have launched an investigation after anguished Chinese
relatives of passengers on the missing flight stormed into a media
centre in Kuala Lumpur yesterday, calling on authorities to "give us
back our families".Two-thirds of the 239 people on the missing
flight are Chinese and the drip feed of often conflicting information
has sparked fury among desperate relatives and drawn condemnation from
Chinese authorities.Amid chaotic scenes, the relatives were
besieged by camera-wielding reporters awaiting the start of a daily
press briefing by Malaysian officials on the search for the missing
aircraft.Shouting and crying, the relatives unfurled a banner
that accused the Malaysian authorities of withholding information and
not doing enough to find the plane."They give different messages every day. Where's the flight now? We can't stand it anymore," one woman wailed.
More details soon.
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