Chinese aircraft spots suspicious objects in MH370

Updated: 2014-03-24 12:24


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The crew aboard a Chinese IL-76 plane spotted some suspicious objects in the southern Indian Ocean on Monday in search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 off Australia.

The crew has reported the coordinates -- 95.1113 degrees east longitude and 42.5453 south altitude -- to the Australian command center as well as Chinese icebreaker Xuelong, which was also part of the search mission and has already changed its course toward the latest sighting.

Xuelong is expected to reach the area in the early hours of Tuesday.

A Xinhua correspondent aboard the IL-76 aircraft said the searchers saw two relatively big floating objects with many white smaller ones scattered within a radius of several kilometers.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said on its Twitter feed they have been informed of the objects sighted by the Chinese aircraft and attempts will be made to locate the objects.

As the two Chinese searching planes are heading back, the crew has asked the Australian side to send other planes to the area of interest for further examination.

In a related development, AMSA authorities said Monday that a tropical cyclone in the Indian Ocean will not affect the search for missing MH370.

Earlier Monday, Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss had said Tropical Cyclone Gillian, near Christmas Island, could bring bad weather south, hindering search efforts.

A total of 10 aircraft joined Monday's search for MH370 whose whereabouts remained unknown since it vanished on March 8 on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, carrying 239.

The search has zeroed in on two areas of 59,000 square km to 68,500 square km respectively.

Malaysia on Sunday received new satellite images from French authorities, showing potential debris along the southern corridor the jetliner might have taken, according to a statement from the Malaysian Ministry of Transport.

The French satellite imagery was released a day after China said its satellite spotted a 22-meter-long and 13-meter-wide floating object in the southern Indian Ocean, about 120 km southwest of the objects Australia announced Thursday.

But the French images focus on an area about 850 km north of the current search area, which is some 2,500 km southwest of Australian port city of Perth.

Meanwhile, the US Pacific Command has ordered the Pacific Fleet to move a black box locator into the region, according to a US Navy statement released on Sunday. In the statement, the US Navy stressed that the deployment of the locator, namely the Towed Pinger Locator 25 (TPL-25), was only a "precautionary measure in case a debris field is located."

French Foreign Affairs Ministry also said on Sunday that France will mobilize further satellite means to help find the missing MH370 after its satellite images showed "floating debris" in the southern Indian Ocean.