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New leads emerge as Malaysian airliner searchers end another fruitless day

English.news.cn   2014-03-23 22:56:36

CANBERRA, March 23 (Xinhua) -- Australian search and rescue officials on Sunday ended another fruitless day searching the southern Indian Ocean for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 as new satellite photos showing objects in the water came to light.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said it was in possession of the new photos taken by a French satellite, but little other information was available.

Observers on four military aircraft from Australia and the United States and four civil ultra-long range jets had made no sightings of significance on Sunday, said a statement from AMSA.

Early sea fog covered the search areas, particularly in the western areas, but conditions improved during the day.

The search areas cover a total of 59,000 square kilometers, with the western boundary 2,500 kilometers from Australia's southwestern city of Perth.

The search would resume Monday with two Chinese military Ilyushin IL-76 aircraft and two Japanese P-3C aircraft.

Earlier Australian Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss and senior maritime rescue officials reiterated that they would keep searching the southern Indian Ocean for as long as they had hope.

"The search will continue and will continue as long as there's hope, and I hope that we'll find a time soon when we're able to conclusively say once and for all that we are close to finding where this plane may now be located," Truss said in a televised press conference at AMSA in Canberra.

AMSA general manager of emergency response John Young said searchers were on Sunday hoping to find again the objects spotted by airborne observers the day before so they could be recovered and to find the objects identified in U.S. and Chinese satellite photos.

Chinese warships were expected to arrive in the area on Tuesday, said Young at the press conference.

AMSA Rescue Coordination Center chief Mike Barton said AMSA personnel were coordinating information gained from self-locating datum buoys with expert opinions from home and abroad to identify search areas.

"We put all of that information together and any new intelligence that comes to us about satellites to formulate an area and we'll redo it again tonight based on what observations might have occurred in today's flying and look to go out searching again and then we'll do it again and again until we have some sort of closure or positive sightings in the area," said Barton said at the press conference.

On Saturday observers identified a wooden pallet, some strapping belts of different colors and "other nondescript items," he said.

The use of wooden pallets was quite common in the airline industry, he said.

"The challenge of this search hinges around its remoteness from anywhere," said Barton.

"The aircraft are operating at extreme ranges from Perth, which is the closest air field, or RAAF Base Pearce, which is up the road, and so at 2,500 kilometers away they're operating at the limits of their endurance and only having a short period of one to two hours in the search area and then back again," he said.

"That's only allowing us to get in a singular search a day, which is again spreading the search out over several days."

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said early Sunday there was "increasing hope" of finding wreckage from flight MH370.

"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 said in an interview in Papua New Guinea published by his office.

Abbott said the international cooperation was also raising hopes of finding remains of the aircraft.

"The more aircraft we have, the more ships we have, the more confident we are of recovering whatever material is down there and obviously before we can be too specific about what it might be, we do actually need to recover some of this material," he said.

"I want to say that this is a really big international effort and it does show that many countries are capable of pulling together in a time of trouble," said Abbott.

The fourth day of the search covered two areas determined by drift modeling within the same proximity about 2,500 kilometers southwest of the city of Perth, said a statement from AMSA.

The search areas were based on information provided by China with satellite photos taken on March 18, two days after the U.S. satellite photos were taken, showing an object measuring 22 meters by 13 meters floating in the water.

Although the object's position fell within Saturday's search area, it was not found.

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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