UK & World News

  • 24 March 2014, 13:45

Missing Jet Families 'To Be Taken To Australia'

Relatives of the passengers on the missing Malaysia Airlines plane have been called to an emergency meeting with the company.

It comes as Sky sources said families will be taken from Beijing to Australia after more objects were spotted in the search area in the southern Indian Ocean.

The Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak is to hold a news conference at 2pm (UK time) on the latest developments, which will be shown live on Sky News.

The new objects, one grey or green and a circular shape, the other orange and rectangular,   were sighted about 1,550 miles south-west of the city of Perth by a Royal Australian Air Force P3 Orion aircraft.

"I caution ... that we don't know whether any of these objects are from MH370, they could be flotsam," Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott told parliament.

"Nevertheless, we are hopeful that we can recover these objects soon and they will take us a step closer to resolving this tragic mystery."

The Australian military ship HMAS Success is the only vessel currently within the search area and will try to retrieve the items in the coming hours.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority said the entire crew of HMAS Success is keeping a lookout for the objects.

Mr Abbott said a US Navy Poseidon, a second Royal Australian Orion and a Japanese Orion were also en route to the area.

The objects are separate from several "suspicious" floating objects sighted by a Chinese search plane earlier today.

The crew of the military Ilyushin-76 aircraft saw "white and square" objects dispersed over several miles in the southern Indian Ocean.

They included two "relatively big" objects and several smaller ones.

The objects cited by the Chinese were seen near an area identified by satellite imagery as containing possible debris from the missing airliner.

The US Navy has also announced it is sending one of its high-tech black box detectors to the southern Indian Ocean.

The towed pinger locator, which is pulled behind a vessel at slow speeds, has highly sensitive listening capability so that if the wreck site is located, it can hear the black box pinger down to a depth of about 20,000ft (6,100 metres).

The navy called the move a "precautionary measure" in case those sightings confirm the location of the aircraft which disappeared on March 8 with 239 people on board.

US Seventh Fleet Operations Officer Commander Chris Budde said in a statement: "If debris is found we will be able to respond as quickly as possible since the battery life of the black box's pinger is limited."

More follows...

Advertisement