Australian search plane spots debris in Malaysia jet search | News | DW | 24.03.2014
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Australian search plane spots debris in Malaysia jet search

An Australian search aircraft searching for missing flight MH370 has spotted two objects which could be retrieved for investigation in a matter of hours. An international search is focused on the southern Indian Ocean.

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Search for MH370 continues

An Australian Orion plane sent to cover the search area for the missing Boeing 777 returned on Monday with reports of two new objects spotted in the ocean.

"The crew on board the Orion reported seeing two objects - the first a grey or green circular object and the second an orange rectangular object," a statement from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, which is coordinating the search, said.

Malaysian Transport Minister Hishammudin Hussein told reporters at a Kuala Lumpur press briefing that Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott had called Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak about the find, and that a search vessel was in the vicinity.

"It is possible that the objects could be received within the next few hours, or by tomorrow morning at the latest." Hishammudin said.

Other planes and aircraft are also heading to the area, about 2,500 kilometers (1,550 miles) southwest of Perth.

Earlier on Monday, a Chinese plane reported seeing different debris, consisting of two "relatively big" floating objects, with many white smaller ones scattered over several kilometers in a remote area of the Indian Ocean west of Perth.

The area was identified last week by satellite data as containing possible debris. At least 10 aircraft are involved in Monday's search operations. None of the debris spotted so far by either plane or satellite can be confirmed as belonging to the missing jet.

Black box locator sent

The United States Navy is also sending a high-tech black box detector to the area. Black boxes record voices in a plane's cockpit as well as flight data, giving vital clues in air accident investigations.

"This movement is simply a prudent effort to preposition equipment and trained personnel closer to the search area so that 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," Commander Chris Budde, US Seventh Fleet Operations Officer, said.

He added that the device, which is pulled at slow speeds behind a ship, can detect "pings" – the signals emitted by a black box – up to 20,000 feet (6,100 meters) deep.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared from civilian radar on March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board. There have since been no confirmed sightings of the plane.

se/slk (dpa, Reuters, AP, AFP)

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