REINEKE FORD   ||   NEWS UPDATES

More planes join ocean hunt for missing jetliner

Comment: Off

Ground crew members wave to a Japanese Maritime Defense Force P3C patrol plane as it leaves the Royal Malaysian Air Force base heading for Australia to join a search and rescue operation for the missing Malaysia Airlines, flight MH370, in Subang, Malaysia, Sunday, March 23, 2014. Search planes headed back out to a desolate patch of the southern Indian Ocean on Sunday in hopes of finding answers to the fate of the missing Malaysia Airlines jet, after China released a satellite image showing a large object floating in the search zone. (AP Photo/Lai Seng Sin)

Ground crew members wave to a Japanese Maritime Defense Force P3C patrol plane as it leaves the Royal Malaysian Air Force base heading for Australia to join a search and rescue operation for the missing Malaysia Airlines, flight MH370, in Subang, Malaysia, Sunday, March 23, 2014. Search planes headed back out to a desolate patch of the southern Indian Ocean on Sunday in hopes of finding answers to the fate of the missing Malaysia Airlines jet, after China released a satellite image showing a large object floating in the search zone. (AP Photo/Lai Seng Sin)

This image provided by China’s State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense shows a floating object seen at sea next to the descriptor which was added by the source. The image was captured around noon, on March 18, 2014 (Tuesday) by a Chinese satellite in S44’57 E90’13 in south Indian Ocean. It shows what is suspected to be a floating object 22 meters long and 13 meters wide. It is about 120 km south (slightly to the west) of the suspected objects released by Australia. (AP Photo/ China State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense)

This Saturday, March 22, 2014 graphic provided by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), shows the approximate position of the objects seen floating in a Chinese satellite image in the southern Indian Ocean that the AMSA is concentrating its search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 on. China on Saturday released a satellite image showing an object floating in a remote stretch of the southern Indian Ocean near where planes and ships have been crisscrossing since similar images from an Australian satellite emerged earlier in the week. Two military planes from China arrived Saturday in Perth and were expected on Sunday to join Australian, New Zealand and U.S. aircraft in the search. (AP Photo/Australian Maritime Safety Authority)

Two Chinese Ilyushin IL-76s aircraft sit on the tarmac at RAAF Pearce base ready to join the search missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in Perth, Australia, Saturday, March 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)

Flight officer Rayan Gharazeddine on board a Royal Australian Air Force AP-3C Orion, scans for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in southern Indian Ocean, Australia, Saturday, March 22, 2014. Frustration grew Saturday over the lack of progress tracking down two objects spotted by satellite that might be Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, with a Malaysian official expressing worry that the search area will have to be widened if no trace of the plane is found. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith, Pool)

Buy AP Photo Reprints

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — More planes were joining the search Sunday of a remote patch of the southern Indian Ocean in hopes of finding answers to the fate of the missing Malaysia Airlines jet, after China released a satellite image showing a large object floating in the search zone.

The desolate area in the Indian Ocean is about 2,500 kilometers (1,550 miles) southwest of Perth, Australia, where three days of searching for similar images from another satellite that emerged earlier in the week have produced no results.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority, which is coordination the operation from the country’s western coast, said it refined the search based on the latest clue from the Chinese satellite showing an object that appeared to be 22 meters (72 feet) by 13 meters (43 feet). It said that the object’s position also fell within Saturday’s search area but it had not been sighted.

Sunday’s search involving eight aircraft has been split into two areas within the same proximity covering 59,000 square kilometers (22,800 square miles). These areas have been determined by drift modelling, the AMSA said.

Despite the frustrating lack of answers, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott was upbeat.

“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,” Abbott told reporters in Papua New Guinea.

Malaysian Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein put a message on his Twitter account Sunday asking those in churches around the country to offer a “prayer please” for the passengers and crew on Fight 370.

More than 300 Malaysian cycling enthusiasts rode their bikes to the Kuala Lumpur airport to remember the people onboard the jet. The cyclists decorated the bikes with small Malaysian flags and stickers that read “Pray for MH370.”

Six planes left a base near Perth on the four-hour journey to the search region, the safety authority said. Two more will fly out later. The HMAS Success, an Australian navy supply ship, is also taking part.

A cold front was forecast to move through the region later Sunday, which could bring clouds and wind, further hampering efforts to locate the plane.

The latest satellite image is another clue in the baffling search for Flight 370, which dropped off air traffic control screens March 8 over the Gulf of Thailand with 239 people on board.

“China hopes that these data will be helpful for searching and rescuing efforts,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in a statement.

The missing plane, which had been bound for Beijing, carried 153 Chinese passengers.

After about a week of confusion, Malaysian authorities said pings sent by the Boeing 777-200 for several hours after

Comments

comments

About the Author