Australia says it has found ‘possible’ MH370 debris

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MH370 searchAustralian search planes were on their way on March 20 to assess at least two objects in the southern Indian Ocean that could be connected to missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, Australian authorities have announced. Four aircraft have been sent to the area after a “possible indication of debris” was detected in satellite imagery, said the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (Amsa), which is co-ordinating the search in the southern Indian Ocean.

Amsa’s emergency response general manager, John Young, said the largest possible object had been assessed as measuring 24 meters. The satellite sightings were made 2,500 kilometers south-west of Perth.

The Australian prime minister, Tony Abbott, told parliament that the “new and credible information” had emerged from expert analysis of satellite imagery. His announcement came 12 days after Beijing-bound MH370 went missing on March 8 shortly after taking off from Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian capital, with 239 people on board.

Abbott said an Australian air force Orion had been diverted to look for the objects, with three more aircraft following for a more intensive follow-up search. He added that he had informed the Malaysian prime minister, Najib Razak, of the developments.

Abbott cautioned against drawing premature conclusions. “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. Nevertheless I did want to update the house on this potentially important development.”

Earlier, Amsa said it had halved the search area in the Indian Ocean – albeit to an area still covering 300,000 square kilometers – and moved it closer to Perth. John Young, the Amsa chief, said after Abbott’s announcement that the objects were “relatively indistinct” on the satellite imagery but were of “reasonable size and probably awash with water… bobbing up and down in the water”.

“We have been in this business of doing search and rescue and using satellite images before,” Young said. “They do not always turn out to be related to the search even if they look good, so we will hold our views on that until they are sighted.”

The Orion had reported initial poor visibility, which would hamper both air and satellite efforts. The other aircraft due to arrive later on Thursday included a New Zealand air force Orion and a United States navy P8 Poseidon.

An Australian C130 Hercules aircraft would drop marker buoys to track currents that could carry any debris elsewhere. “They will provide an ongoing reference point if the task of relocating the objects becomes protracted,” Young said.

“Royal Australian Navy warship HMAS Success is en route to the area but is some days away from this area. She is well equipped to recover any objects located and proven to be from MH370.”

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Australian search planes were on their way on March 20 to assess at least two objects in the southern Indian Ocean that could be connected to missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, Australian authorities have announced. Four aircraft have been sent to the area after a “possible indication of debris” was detected in satellite imagery, said the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (Amsa), which is co-ordinating the search in the southern Indian Ocean.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

MH370 searchAustralian search planes were on their way on March 20 to assess at least two objects in the southern Indian Ocean that could be connected to missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, Australian authorities have announced. Four aircraft have been sent to the area after a “possible indication of debris” was detected in satellite imagery, said the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (Amsa), which is co-ordinating the search in the southern Indian Ocean.

Amsa’s emergency response general manager, John Young, said the largest possible object had been assessed as measuring 24 meters. The satellite sightings were made 2,500 kilometers south-west of Perth.

The Australian prime minister, Tony Abbott, told parliament that the “new and credible information” had emerged from expert analysis of satellite imagery. His announcement came 12 days after Beijing-bound MH370 went missing on March 8 shortly after taking off from Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian capital, with 239 people on board.

Abbott said an Australian air force Orion had been diverted to look for the objects, with three more aircraft following for a more intensive follow-up search. He added that he had informed the Malaysian prime minister, Najib Razak, of the developments.

Abbott cautioned against drawing premature conclusions. “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. Nevertheless I did want to update the house on this potentially important development.”

Earlier, Amsa said it had halved the search area in the Indian Ocean – albeit to an area still covering 300,000 square kilometers – and moved it closer to Perth. John Young, the Amsa chief, said after Abbott’s announcement that the objects were “relatively indistinct” on the satellite imagery but were of “reasonable size and probably awash with water… bobbing up and down in the water”.

“We have been in this business of doing search and rescue and using satellite images before,” Young said. “They do not always turn out to be related to the search even if they look good, so we will hold our views on that until they are sighted.”

The Orion had reported initial poor visibility, which would hamper both air and satellite efforts. The other aircraft due to arrive later on Thursday included a New Zealand air force Orion and a United States navy P8 Poseidon.

An Australian C130 Hercules aircraft would drop marker buoys to track currents that could carry any debris elsewhere. “They will provide an ongoing reference point if the task of relocating the objects becomes protracted,” Young said.

“Royal Australian Navy warship HMAS Success is en route to the area but is some days away from this area. She is well equipped to recover any objects located and proven to be from MH370.”

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