UK & World News

  • 24 March 2014, 3:49

Missing Plane: French Satellite Spots 'Debris'

A French satellite has spotted potential objects floating in the Indian Ocean in the southern corridor of the search for missing flight MH370.

The images, thought to have been captured on Friday, were immediately relayed to the rescue co-ordination centre in Australia as the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane continues.

It is the third possible sighting of debris in the area and occurred almost 600 miles north of the last report from the Chinese.

Speaking about the French sighting,  Australian deputy prime minister Warren Truss said: "That's not in the area that had been identified as the most likely place where the aircraft may have entered the sea. But having said all that we've got to check out all the options."

On Saturday, the Chinese government released a satellite image showing a large floating object.

That object, measuring 74ft (22.5m) by 43ft (13m), was photographed on Tuesday just 75 miles from where two other potential pieces of debris were spotted by an Australian satellite.

A statement from Malaysia's acting transport minister Hishammuddin Hussein 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.

"Australia, China and France have now released satellite images that show potential objects, which may be related to MH370, in the vicinity of the southern corridor.

"All this information has been forwarded to Australia, as the lead country in the area of concern."

Eight aircraft were involved in a fruitless fourth day of searching for the debris on Sunday as fog hampered efforts.

Royal Australian Air Force Flight Lieutenant Russell Adams said: "Unfortunately the weather conditions have deteriorated. The cloud was down to the surface and at times we were completely enclosed by cloud right down at our minimum altitude."

The search - which extends 1,553 miles from Perth and covers 22,800 sq miles (59,000 sq km) - will resume on Monday when Chinese military transport planes will take to the air.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott had earlier spoken of the "increasing hope" of finding out what happened to MH370.

He said: "It's still too early to be definite, but obviously we have now had a number of very credible leads and there is increasing hope, no more than hope, that we might be on the road to discovering what did happen to this ill-fated aircraft."

The wing of a Boeing 777-200ER is approximately 88ft (27m) long and 45ft (14m) wide at its base, according to estimates taken from scale drawings.

The fuselage is 208ft (63.7m) long and 20ft (6.2m) wide.

Malaysian authorities held a six-hour briefing in Beijing with relatives of passengers on board the flight.

Bad weather has threatened the operation after a cyclone warning was declared for Tropical Cyclone Gillian, which is forecast to move into the southern search corridor.

A cold front is also predicted to move through the region later on Sunday, which could bring clouds and wind.

The Malaysia Airline flight disappeared from air traffic control screens in the early hours of March 8 with 239 people on board.

Investigators believe it was deliberately diverted by someone on board shortly after leaving Malaysian air space.

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