Possible missing jet debris spotted as search enters 3rd week - New York News

Possible missing jet debris spotted as search enters 3rd week

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NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

Malaysia says France has provided satellite images that show more possible debris from missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

Malaysia's Transport Ministry said in a statement Sunday that it had received images from French authorities showing "potential objects in the vicinity of the southern corridor." The description refers to an area of the southern Indian Ocean where satellites from Australia and China have also captured images showing objects that may be debris from the plane that vanished early on the morning of March 8 while en route from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Beijing.

The French satellite images themselves had not been released or described by Malaysia, France or Australia hours after the announcement of their existence. In an emailed statement, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority declined to offer details about what they showed or where the objects were located and did not respond to multiple requests by The Associated Press for access to the images.

But a Malaysian official involved in the search mission said the images were captured Friday and pinpointed objects about 575 miles north of the spots where the objects in the images released by Australia and China were located.

Flight 370 disappeared over the Gulf of Thailand on March 8 with 239 people on board, setting off a multinational search effort that has turned up nothing conclusive so far on what happened to the jet.

Sunday's search for the objects was frustrating because "there was cloud down to the surface and at times we were completely enclosed by cloud," Royal Australian Air Force flight Lt. Russell Adams told reporters at the military base where the planes take off and land on their missions.

Earlier Sunday, eight planes also were deployed from a military base in western Australia to search for a wooden pallet spotted by a civilian search plane late Saturday. Wooden pallets are commonly used in shipping, but can also be used in cargo containers carried on planes.

Malaysia Airlines did not immediately confirm whether pallets were on board Flight 370. Sam Cardwell, a spokesman for the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, said the maritime agency had requested a cargo manifest from Malaysia Airlines, but he was unsure whether it had been received as of Sunday night.

Mike Barton, chief of AMSA's rescue coordination center, told reporters in Canberra, Australia, that the pallet was surrounded by several other objects, including what appeared to be strapping belts of different colors.

A New Zealand P3 Orion military plane was then sent to find it but failed, he said.

"So, we've gone back to that area again today to try and re-find it," Barton said. A merchant ship in the area has also been sent to try to identify the material.

"We went to some of the expert airlines and the use of wooden pallets is quite common in the industry," Barton said. "They're usually packed into another container which is loaded in the belly of the aircraft. ... It's a possible lead, but we will need to be very certain that this is a pallet because pallets are used in the shipping industry as well."

When Brazilian searchers in 2009 were looking for debris from Air France Flight 447 after it mysteriously plunged into the Atlantic Ocean, the first thing they found was a wooden pallet. The military first reported that the pallet came from the Air France flight, but then said six hours later that the plane had not been carrying any wooden pallets.

Speaking to reporters in Papua New Guinea, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said, "Obviously we have now had a number of very credible leads and there is increasing hope -- no more than hope, no more than hope -- that we might be on the road to discovering what did happen to this ill-fated aircraft."

Experts also want to check a vast area of the Indian Ocean for an object seen on satellite images released by China Saturday that may have come from the missing jet. Sunday's search was split into two areas within the same proximity covering 22,800 square miles. These areas have been determined by drift modeling, AMSA said.

The Chinese satellite image showed an object measuring approximately 72 feet by 43 feet. Air and sea searches since Thursday have not produced any results.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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