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RAAF says mutiple objects "verified", mission deemed "successful"

English.news.cn   2014-03-24 20:13:29

by Christian Edwards, Xiaona Zhao

PERTH, Australia, March 24 (Xinhua) -- Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) plot Lieutenant Josh Williams has said in a post sortie interview on Monday night (AEDT) that spotters have " verified" objects for the first time in the Southern Indian Ocean and believed the debris will be recovered by the Australian vessel HMAS Success.

A clearly exhausted Lt Williams said his flight "has been successful".

"We saw debris in the water, and sighted a number of objects."

The RAAF pilot said it was his team's third sortie in the area, some 2,500 km southwest of Perth, Western Australia and that it was a first for any of the similar sorties flown by Australia's squadron of P3 Orions.

"We have not had this concentration of activity on any of our flights."

"It's the first time we've actually verified something." Williams added.

As described by the RAAF pilot, the first object was rectangular in shape, "floating slightly below the ocean," and the second object was circular and also floating below the surface.

Another significant object included a 2 meter long cylindrical object 30 centimeters across and another cylindrical object shaped like "a rough fish-hook."

After taking off from Pearce Air Force base 50 Km outside Perth at around 6 a.m. (Beijing Time), the Orion identified debris via a spotter. According to Lieutenant Williams, The aircraft concentrated an intense period of flying through difficult conditions over three hours with multiple sightings and visual verifications.

However, Willams added that there was "no real way can classify that on aircraft."

"All we can provide is possibilities, location, time and markers."

Williams said the HMAS Success would be in a position to retrieve the objects over the next 24 hours.

The discovery sent waves of excitement through the RAAF teams that have toiled so hard over an extended period under difficult conditions.

"Everyone was quite hyped," the pilot said,

"Fatigue was setting in - we were going hammer and tong over three hours... after 45 degree turns to get the aircraft in position... There was strong turbulence in the area... running on adrenaline it can be quite stressful."

Whisked away from waiting media, the P3 Orion crew were taken immediately for debriefing, allowing the team to formulate and " pass on our data to other aircraft".

RAAF said other aircraft would continue the investigation.

Meanwhile, the work group coming from the Chinese Embassy in Australia said Monday during a press briefing in the Chinese Consulate in Perth that the possible objects spotted by the Chinese military plane IL-76 still need to be verified.

Related:

Chinese plane crew spots suspicious objects in search area for missing MH370

ABOARD IL-76 AIRCRAFT/CANBERRA, March 24 (Xinhua) -- The crew aboard a Chinese IL-76 plane spotted some suspicious objects in the southern Indian Ocean on Monday in search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 off Australia.

The crew has reported the coordinates -- 95.1113 degrees east longitude and 42.5453 south altitude -- to the Australian command center as well as Chinese icebreaker Xuelong, which was also part of the search mission and has already changed its course toward the latest sighting.Full story

Chinese aircraft, icebreaker communicate over MH370 search

ABOARD IL-76 AIRCRAFT, March 24 (Xinhua) -- The crew of a Chinese IL-76 aircraft on Monday communicated in flight with icebreaker Xuelong over their joint mission of searching for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.Full story

Chinese military plane takes off in Australia to search for MH370

PERTH, Australia, March 24 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese military plane took off here early Monday to search for the suspicious debris of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean.

A Chinese Air Force Ilyushin IL-76 plane left RAAF Base Pearce and it will make a stop at the Perth international airport to refuel before moving out to the sea, according to a Xinhua correspondent on board.Full story

Editor: chengyang
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