CANBERRA, March 23 (Xinhua) -- Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Sunday there is "increasing hope" of finding wreckage from the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
Abbott said in an interview in Papua New Guinea published by his office that it was still too early to definitely identify objects seen floating in the water by aircraft observers Saturday as they searched an area for an object spotted in Chinese satellite imagery.
"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," he said.
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.
"It is a very important humanitarian exercise. We owe it to the almost 240 people on board the plane; we owe it to their grieving families; we owe it to the governments of the countries concerned to do everything we can to discover as much as we can about the fate of MH370."
The international search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 was expanded Sunday to cover a total of 59,000 square km in the southern Indian Ocean, Australia's maritime rescue agency announced.
The fourth day of the search would cover two areas determined by drift modeling within the same proximity about 2,500 km southwest of the city of Perth, said a statement from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA).
The search areas were based on information provided by China with satellite photos taken on March 18 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.
However, AMSA had used the information in the development of the search area taking drift modelling into account.
"The Australian Maritime Safety Authority reiterates this is a challenging search operation and continues to hold grave fears for the passengers and crew on board the missing flight," said the statement.
A total of eight aircraft were involved in Sunday's search operation, including four civil aircraft and a United States Navy P8 Poseidon.
Two Chinese and two Japanese aircraft have also arrived to help with the search.
PERTH, Australia, March 23 (Xinhua) -- Visual search continued on Sunday for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in the sea area where suspicious objects had been spotted by satellite images, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said.
The visual search may take time as the biggest challenge is remoteness of the search area, which is about 2,500 kilometers away from the Australian southwestern port city of Perth, an official with AMSA said at a press conference. Full story
MELBOURNE, March 23 (Xinhua) -- Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Sunday that small pieces of debris were spotted in the southern Indian Ocean, but he added cautiously that it was too early to confirm their linkage to the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 flight.
Abbott announced the latest update on the ongoing search before leaving Papua New Guinea Sunday morning. Full story