Malaysia says French satellites spot objects in search area

24 March 2014 BBC Online


Malaysia says it has received new satellite images from France showing potential debris from missing flight MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean.
This is the third set of images in a week of possible debris in the area.
Australia is coordinating the search and earlier said it was investigating sightings of a pallet and other items.
Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 disappeared on 8 March en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, with 239 people on board.
Malaysian officials believe the plane was deliberately taken off course.
Based on information received from a satellite, the search has been in two distinct corridors - one stretching to the north-west of the last known location in the Malacca Straits and one to the south-west.
However, none of the countries on the northern corridor have reported any radar contact, and the satellite images of possible debris in the south Indian Ocean have concentrated the search there.
A statement published on the Malaysian ministry of transport's Facebook page said: "This morning, Malaysia received new satellite images from the French authorities showing potential objects in the vicinity of the southern corridor.
"Malaysia immediately relayed these images to the Australian rescue co-ordination centre."
No further details were given.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (Amsa), which is overseeing the search, said eight planes were sent out from Perth in western Australia on Sunday over a wider search area.
They included four civil aircraft and a US P8 Poseidon.
The Australian navy's HMAS Success is the only ship in the area, though others, including from the US, UK and China are on the way.
A key focus on Sunday was the sighting on Saturday of a wooden cargo pallet, along with belts or straps.
Mike Barton, operations coordinator at Amsa, said: "Part of the description was a wooden pallet and a number of other items which were nondescript around it and some belts of some different colours around it as well, strapping belts of different lengths."
He added: "We tried to re-find that yesterday, one of the New Zealand aircraft, and unfortunately they didn't find it. That's the nature of it - you only have to be off by a few hundred metres in a fast-travelling aircraft."Pallets are used for shipping as well as plane cargo and Mr Barton cautioned the sighting "could be anything".
Amsa released a statement on Sunday's search, detailing the aircraft involved and saying the area would cover about 59,000 sq km (22,800 square miles). The weather in the area is not ideal.
The Australian Bureau of Meteorology said on Sunday: "Drizzle and associated low cloud and reduction in visibility will continue through the weekend. Another cold front forecast to pass through the area today will bring rain, low cloud and associated poor visibility." 'I miss my son'
Earlier, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the sightings of objects were encouraging signs.
"Obviously we have now had a number of very credible leads and there is increasing hope - no more than hope, no more than hope - that we might be on the road to discovering what did happen to this ill-fated aircraft," he said.
China on Saturday released a satellite image showing an object floating in the southern Indian Ocean near to the area already being searched, some 2,500 km (1,550 miles) south-west of Perth.
The grainy image was released by China's State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense.
The Xinhua state news agency said the image was taken at about 04:00 GMT on 18 March and showed objects about 120km "south by west" from the site of possible debris shown in another satellite image from 16 March.
Malaysian Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein put a message on his Twitter account on Sunday urging a "prayer please" for the passengers and crew on flight MH370.
Relatives and friends are still waiting anxiously for news in hotels in Beijing and Malaysia.
In the Everly Hotel in Putrajaya, Malaysia, Kamariah Sharif, the mother of missing passenger Mohamad Razahan Zamani, told Reuters: "Allah give me strength and guidance, I can't tell you how much I miss my son. This has gone on so long. I pray that he is safe."

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