Large objects in sea off Australia could be missing Malaysia Airlines jet

The missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER

The missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER

First published in News
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The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Deputy News Editor

TWO large objects - one measuring some 70ft - spotted in the sea off the western coast of Australia may have come from missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

The objects which are around 1,550 miles soutwest of Perth were picked up by satellite and are described as "credible sightings".

One search plane has arrived in the area with others due to arrive in the next few hours - but the area is shrouded in poor visability.

Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) spokesman, John Young, said an expert assessment has been carried out on the satellite imagery it suspects may be debris from the flight.

They indicate one of the objects measures around 70 feet in length.

"We have to get there, find them, see them, assess them," he said, to confirm if the images were debris from the missing plane.," he said.

"The 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.

“The indication to me is of objects that are of reasonable size and awash with water, bobbing up and down on the surface.”

Mr Young said further images are expected to be available as commercial satellites are redirected to take high resolution images of the areas of interest.

"We may get a sighting, we may not. We may get it tomorrow, we may not,’’ he said. “But we will continue to do this until we locate those objects or we are convinced that we cannot find them.’

“I would advise that AMSA is doing it’s level best to find anyone that may have survived.”

Mr Young stressed the objects may be difficult to locate and may not be related to the search.

The Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 carrying 239 people was flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing when contact was lost with the Boeing B777-200 on March 8.

Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, earlier told Parliament in Canberra: "New and credible information has come to light in relation to the search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean.

"Following specialist analysis of this satellite imagery, two possible objects related to the search have been identified.

"I can inform the House that a Royal Australian Air Force Orion has been diverted to attempt to locate the objects."

However, he warned: "We must keep in mind the task of locating these objects will be extremely difficult and it may turn out that they are not related to the search for flight MH370."

A Royal Australian Air Force Orion has been diverted to the search zone in the Southern Indian Ocean and three other planes - including one from New Zealand and one from the United States - are due to carry out a more intensive follow-up search.

An Australian Hercules will drop marker buoys in the area to help provide information where the debris may have shifted due to drift.

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