Search for missing MH370 turns toward Australian waters
Search efforts of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 turned toward waters off the coast of Perth, Australia on March 20 after an Australian satellite picked up images showing what could be two pieces of the missing aircraft.
Search efforts of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 turned toward waters off the coast of Perth, Australia on Thursday (March 20) after an Australian satellite picked up images showing what could be two pieces of the missing aircraft.
The images showed two pieces of debris, one measuring 24 metres across, the other 5 metres across, floating in the ocean on March 16.
One P-3K2 Orion aircraft from New Zealand, two Australian AP-3C Orions and one U.S. P-8 Poseidon were sent to the area, which one Australian captain said had rough seas and high winds.
A Norwegian ship, the St. Petersburg, was the first vessel to reach the area, according to shipping company Hoegh Autoliners. Meanwhile, China’s Xinhua news agency reported that a Chinese icebreaking ship anchored at Perth is on standby to join the search effort.
Reuters reports, “Rescue authorities cautioned that the objects spotted on the satellite images, dated March 16, might not be related to the transcontinental search for the plane but said the find represented the best lead yet.
“Acting Prime Minister Warren Truss said Australia continued to examine satellite footage to pinpoint the location of the suspected debris, which included a piece estimated from the satellite imagery to be 24 meters long.
“‘Clearly, there's a lot of resources being put into that particular area. It's broadly consistent with the flight plans that were talked about ever since the satellites and their work has been added to the information bank,’ Truss told ABC radio.
“‘That work will continue, trying to get more pictures, stronger resolution so that we can be more confident about where the items are, how far they have moved and therefore what efforts should be put into the search effort.’
“Strong winds, cloud and rain had made searching difficult, said Kevin Short, air vice marshal at New Zealand's Defense Forces which sent a P-3K2 Orion to search the area on Thursday.
“‘The crew never found any object of significance," he told Radio New Zealand.
"Visibility wasn't very good, which makes it harder to search the surface of the water,’ he said.
“A nearby desolate group of French-administered sub-Antarctic islands including St. Paul and Amsterdam and Kerguelen had been asked to look for debris, but none had been spotted, said Sebastien Mourot, chief of staff for the French prefect of La Reunion.”
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