PERTH/BEIJING: A Chinese surveillance plane today spotted “suspicious” objects in the southern Indian Ocean as the search for the Malaysian airliner intensified with 10 aircraft scouring the remote area for the missing jet.
The search team on board the Ilyushin to search for the jet that went missing 17 days ago saw “two relatively big floating objects with many white smaller ones scattered within a radius of several kilometers”, reported state-run Xinhua news agency.
“The crew has reported the coordinates – 95.1113 degrees east and 42.5453 south – to the Australian command centre as well as Chinese icebreaker Xuelong, which is en route to the sea area,” the report said.
According to Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), 10 aircraft were involved in today’s search for the MH370 which entered its fifth day.
“Two Chinese military aircraft departed about 8.45am and 9.20am respectively. A RAAF P3 Orion departed for the search area just after 9am (local time),” it said in a statement.
Two ultra-long range civil jets, a second RAAF P3 Orion, a third ultra-long range jet, a US Navy P8 Poseidon aircraft, the two Japanese P3 Orion aircraft were also part of the search operations.
Meanwhile, the US Navy has ordered the Pacific Fleet to move one of its high-tech black box locator into the region where search for the missing jet is underway.
The TPL-25 system is able to locate black boxes of downed aircraft “down to a maximum depth of 20,000 feet (6 km) anywhere in the world”, it said in a statement.
However, a tropical cyclone approaching towards the search zone is likely to impede the hunt today.
France yesterday provided new satellite images of possible debris of the airliner while in another possible lead, Australia said it has spotted a wooden cargo pallet in the southern Indian Ocean, expressing “increasing hope” of a breakthrough in locating the jet.
Australian Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss said: “We’re just, I guess, clutching at whatever little piece of information comes along to try and find a place where we might be able to concentrate the efforts.
The hunt for jet – that disappeared from radar screens an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur with 239 people on board, including five Indians, an Indo-Canadian and 154 Chinese nations – was intensified with India, China and Japan deploying surveillance aircraft yesterday.–PTI