26 Mar 2014

Missing MH370: more than 100 objects spotted in sea

French satellite images reveal 122 objects in the southern Indian Ocean that could be debris from the missing Malaysian airliner.

Malaysia‘s acting transport minister, Hishammuddin Hussein, told a press conference the images were captured by France’s Airbus Defence and Space on Sunday.

They are the fourth set of satellite images to show potential wreckage from Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in a remote part of the Indian Ocean roughly 1,550 miles south west of Perth.

The Australian authorities said three more objects had been spotted by aircraft searching the region.

A civilian aircraft had seen two objects thought to be rope, while a New Zealand Air Force P-3 Orion spotted a blue object, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said on its Twitter feed.

Two Chinese ships are together looking for a 2m object spotted floating earlier in the day by an aircraft, China’s state news agency Xinhua reported on Wednesday.

Family anger

In Beijing, families of the missing Chinese passengers remained critical after a three-hour meeting with representatives from the Malaysian government and military.

Dozens of police officers and a group of nurses were present as the families challenged Lieutenant General Ackbal Samad to justify how they had concluded the flight had crashed without finding any wreckage.

There are still no confirmed sightings of debris from the plane, which disappeared on 8 March with 239 people on board.

Video: Neil Bennett, Australian Bureau of Meteorology on Wednesday’s weather conditions, and aviation expert Geoffrey Thomas warns of worsening weather to come

The desperate hunt for the Malaysia Airlines flight 370 resumed again on Wednesday across a remote stretch of the Indian Ocean after fierce winds and high waves that had forced a day-long halt eased considerably.

The search was halted on Tuesday due to fierce winds and high waves. But the Australian Bureau of Meteorology said that weather conditions on Wednesday were “probably as bad” as they were the day before and were set to deteriorate throughout the day.

Aviation expert Geoffrey Thomas said: “Twenty, thirty metre swells are common particularly in winter, and we’re approaching winter. So there’s a real urgency to find something as quickly as possible, because through the winter months, they’ll probably have to suspend the search.”

‘We owe it to the families’

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said that authorities were doing everything possible to try and locate some of the debris. “We owe it to the families, we owe it to an anxious world to do everything we can to finally locate some wreckage and to do whatever we can to solve the riddle of this extraordinarily ill-fated flight,” he said.

He also said that Australia was prepared to assist the relatives of the missing passengers in whatever way they could: “There’s a terrible trauma involved – there’s the uncertainty, there’s the anguish. It’s just an unspeakable time for these people and if they want to come to Australia we’ll make them welcome and we’ll do everything we can to assist,” he said.

A total of 12 planes and two ships from the United States, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand were participating in the search, hoping to find even a single piece of debris from the Malaysia Airlines jet.

Malaysia said earlier in the week that a mathematical analysis of the final known satellite signals from the plane had proved beyond doubt it gone down in the sea in a remote corner of the Indian Ocean, south west of Perth, taking the lives of all 239 people on board.

British company Inmarsat was behind the finding, and used a wave phenomenon discovered in the nineteenth century to analyse the seven pings its satellite picked up from Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 to determine its final destination (see below).