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Australian searchers located two objects in hunt for MH370: Malaysian Minister

Published on Mar 24, 2014 5:40 PM
 
Able Seaman Boatswains Mate Marc Chandler searches ahead during his watch duty on the bridge of the Australian Navy ship HMAS Success after it arrived in the search area for missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 in this picture released by the Australian Defence Force on March 23, 2014. Australian searchers have located two objects, one circular and one rectangular, and may be able to retrieve them soon, Malaysia's Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR - Australian searchers involved in efforts to find a missing Malaysia Airlines plane have located two objects, one circular and one rectangular, and may be able to retrieve them soon, Malaysia's Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said.

He revealed this at a daily press briefing, on the search for Flight MH370, that resumed on Monday after a day's break.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak received a phone call from his Australian counterpart Tony Abbott on the latest sightings, he said.

"HMAS Success may be able to retrieve them," Mr Hishammuddin said, referring to the Royal Australian Navy's second largest ship.

The latest reported sightings added to earlier reports by Chinese official news agency that the crew of a Ilyushin IL-76 aircraft had spotted two "relatively big" floating objects and several smaller white ones dispersed over several kilometres in the southern Indian Ocean.

The larger objects were "white and square", the report added.

It also said China had diverted its icebreaker ship, Xuelong, towards the location where the debris was spotted.

MH370 Indian Ocean object sightings map

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman later said the Chinese government could not confirm that the objects were linked to MH370, adding that Chinese ships were expected to start arriving on Tuesday in the search area in the southern Indian Ocean.

The Australian search authorities said on Monday that a US P-8 aircraft had not been able to locate the said objects.

The US Navy meanwhile is flying in its high-tech Black Box detector to the area, around 2,500km south-west of Perth.

The hunt for the missing plane with 239 passengers aboard has entered its third week and is focused on the remote southern Indian Ocean. It is being coordinated by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA).

Searches by a growing international fleet of military and civilian aircraft following several reported sightings have been fruitless so far.

France on Sunday reported sightings of potential debris, and spotter planes flying from Base Pearce, north of Perth, saw a wooden cargo pallet and belts.

Poor weather has plagued the mission and the Australian meteorological authority said high winds, low clouds and lowered visibility would prevail.

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