Two objects spotted by satellite in the Southern Indian Ocean that could be related to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is “probably the best lead” yet in the search for the missing plane, an Australian official says.
Planes from the U.S., Australia and New Zealand scanned 8,800 square miles Thursday in an attempt to locate the objects, but came up short. The searches will resume Friday morning.
The Australian Maritime Safety Agency (AMSA) released two images of the objects, which appeared to be white, floating on or just under the surface. The images were taken on Sunday, but Australian Air Commodore John McGarry said it took time to analyze them.
John Young, manager of the AMSA’s emergency response division, told a news conference in Canberra, Australia’s capital, that planes had been sent to the area about 1,550 miles southwest of Perth to check on the objects. A Norwegian merchant ship heading to Australia has also arrived in the area after diverting its route. Ships from Australia, China and Britain are on their way.
A U.S. Navy spokesman told Fox News that a P-8 Poseidon aircraft returned to base in the western Australian city of Perth Thursday with “nothing to report” after flying a 10-hour search mission in the Indian Ocean. A statement on AMSA’s Twitter account said that the crew of a Royal Australian Air Force P-3 aircraft had also been unable to locate the debris due to limited visibility as a result of clouds and rain. The tweet added that other aircraft would continue the search later.
Young said that one of the objects was just short of 80 feet in length, while the other was 15 feet in length.
“This is a lead, it’s probably the best lead we have right now,” said Young, while cautioning that the objects could also be seaborne debris along a shipping route where containers can fall off cargo vessels, though the larger object was longer than a container.