Four military search planes were dispatched Thursday to try to determine whether two large objects bobbing in a remote part of the Indian Ocean were part of a possible debris field from the missing Malaysia Airlines flight.
One of the objects spotted in the satellite imagery was approximately 24 meters (79 feet) long, and another was thought to be about 5 meters (16.5 feet). There could be other objects in waters nearby in the area that’s a four-hour flight from Australia’s southwestern coast, said John Young, manager of Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s emergency response division.
“This is a lead, it’s probably the best lead we have right now,” said Young, while cautioning that the objects could also be seaborne debris along a key shipping route where containers periodically fall off cargo vessels.
Young told a news conference in Canberra, Australia’s capital, that planes had been sent to the area about 1,550 miles southwest of Perth to check on the objects. He said that satellite images “do not always turn out to be related to the search even if they look good, so we will hold our views on that until they are sighted close-up.”
He said one of the planes had arrived and dropped marker buoys to begin tracking the drift of objects in the ocean currents in the area.
The international team hunting Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in the remote southern Indian Ocean failed to turn up anything on Friday, and Australia’s deputy prime minister said the suspected debris may have sunk.