SYDNEY/CANBERRA/MELBOURNE, March 20 (Xinhua) -- Australia announced on Thursday that it had spotted two objects possibly related to the search for the missing Malaysian flight MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean and had sent four aircraft to the area to assess.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott told Parliament that new satellite images showed two possible objects in the ocean, and new and credible information had come to light in relation to the search.
"Following specialist analysis of this satellite imagery, two possible objects related to the search have been identified," Abbott said.
But the prime minister also cautioned "We must keep in mind the task of locating these objects will be extremely difficult and it may turn out that they are not related to the search for flight MH370." The Australian prime minister said he had informed his Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak about the latest developments.
Shortly after the announcement, Australia held a press briefing on the latest development on the search for the lost Malaysian plane in Canberra.
John Young, an official from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said at the briefing that the biggest object found possibly related to missing Malaysian flight MH370 is 24 meters in size and the another one is smaller.
John Young said that the objects are in the vicinity of the search area defined and searched in the past two days and the assessment of these images was provided by the Australian Geospatial Intelligence Organization.
He said it was the best lead they had right now.
"The objects are relatively indistinct. The indication to me is of objects that are of a reasonable size and probably awash with water and bobbing up and down over the surface."
"This is a lead. It is probably the best lead we have right now, " he said.
He also said that they would be difficult to find. "We need to get there, find them, see them, assess them..."
Xinhua has been told by an AMSA spokesman of the areas extreme remoteness.
"It is a challenging search operation and AMSA continues to hold grave fears for the passengers and crew on board the missing flight," the spokesman said.
So far four aircraft have been deployed to locate the floating objects in the southern Indian Ocean, approximately 2,500 km southwest of Perth, in possible connection with a missing Malaysian jetliner, with one having already arrived there, AMSA said on Thursday.
AMSA said it is coordinating the search for the missing aircraft, with assistance from the Australian Defense Force, the New Zealand Air Force and the U.S. Navy.
AMSA's Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC) Australia earlier received satellite imagery of two objects possibly related to the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
The assessment of these images was provided by the Australian Geospatial Intelligence Organization as a possible indication of debris south of the search area that has been the focus of the search operation.
After the Australian prime minister informed his Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak on the development earlier in the day, a Malaysian official said in a statement "The Australian High Commissioner has also briefed me on the situation." Hishammuddin Hussein, minister of defense and acting minister of transport of Malaysia, said at this stage, the Australian officials had yet to establish whether these objects were indeed related to the search for MH370.
The Boeing 777-200 aircraft, carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew members, including 154 Chinese, went missing en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8. A total of 26 countries have been involved in the search and rescue operations.
24-meter-long suspicious object sighted: AMSA
CANBERRA, March 20 (Xinhua) -- The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said on Thursday that two objects possibly related to the missing Malaysia Airlines flight have been spotted, with the large one about 24 meters long.
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KUALA LUMPUR, March 20 (Xinhua) -- Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak received a call from his Australian counterpart Tony Abbott at 10:00 am this morning, informing him that "two possible objects related to the search for" MH370 had been identified in the Southern Indian Ocean, Malaysian official said Thursday in a statement.
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