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MISSING MH370: Satellite images may help solve mystery

Publication Date : 24-03-2014


Images show potential objects in the vicinity of the southern corridor


France provided satellite images to Malaysia on Sunday of objects that could be from a passenger jet that has been missing for more than two weeks, and officials are hoping they will help solve the mystery surrounding Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

The images show "potential objects in the vicinity of the southern corridor," Malaysia's Ministry of Transport said in a statement. That is thought to be close to areas of the Indian Ocean where previous satellite images released by Australia and China showed objects that could be debris from MH370, which disappeared on March 8 with 239 people, including 154 Chinese nationals, on board.

The latest development came after a senior Chinese military official pledged greater search efforts.

"The Chinese military will continue to do its best in the search and rescue work by sending aircraft and ships to search the area for possible debris," Fang Fenghui, People's Liberation Army chief of general staff, said on Sunday morning during a phone conversation with David Hurley, chief of the Australian Defence Force.

Hurley briefed Fang about the latest development in the search and said Australia expected joint efforts and further cooperation with China.

Two Chinese Ilyushin IL-76s will join the search for the missing plane in the southern Indian Ocean on Monday, as advised by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.

Eight aircraft were involved on Sunday in the search in the southern Indian Ocean, Australian authorities said, zeroing in on two areas 2,500 km southwest of Perth in an effort to find the object identified by China and other small debris spotted by a search plane on Saturday.

"New Chinese satellite imagery does seem to suggest at least one large object down there, consistent with the object that earlier satellite imagery discovered," Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott told reporters in Papua New Guinea, where he is on a visit.

"Obviously we have now have 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."

Apart from aircraft, Chinese icebreaker Xuelong is expected to arrive in the area on Tuesday.

The long-serving Antarctic research vessel left the Australian port of Fremantle for the southern Indian Ocean on Friday after it received an order to join the hunt.

Daily Mail reported that Malaysian police had looked into a two-minute call captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah had with a mystery woman shortly before the plane took off. The report said the woman called from a pay-as-you-go SIM card she purchased with a fake ID.

Police officers had questioned the captain's wife to establish her husband's behaviour and state of mind in the days leading to the incident, it added.

In Beijing, during a dialogue with Malaysian government and airlines representatives, family members of Chinese passengers on board MH370 requested that a representative of the Malaysian police be sent to China to attend the news briefing as the Malaysian delegation "often used 'the police are investigating' as an excuse when answering questions".

Such questions included whether the record of all passengers' cellphone use had been checked and if it is possible that the political stance of the pilot, who is reported to be a relative of the head of Malaysia's opposition party, is connected.


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