Australia: Possible Plane Debris Found

Planes, ships sent to check on floating objects

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 20, 2014 12:22 AM CDT | Updated Mar 20, 2014 10:03 AM CDT

(Newser) – After 13 days, has Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 finally been found? Australian authorities sent four military search planes to check on two possible pieces of plane debris spotted via satellite in the Indian Ocean around 1,500 miles southwest of Perth, the larger of which is around 80 feet across, reports CNN. The AP reports that the planes ended the day having had no luck; they combed an 8,800-square-mile area but were hampered by low visibility caused by clouds and rain. The search will resume tomorrow, but Australian authorities warn against jumping to conclusions. Satellite images "do not always turn out to be related to the search even if they look good, so we will hold our views on that until they are sighted close-up," says John Young, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority's emergency response chief.

  • Aircraft from the US and New Zealand are also on their way to the debris site, along with a merchant ship and an Australian naval vessel, the BBC reports. Malaysian authorities have been informed of the find and will hold a press conference later today. "Every lead is a hope. We have been consistent with our process and we want to verify properly," a government spokesman says.
  • Crew members from a US Navy Poseidon P-8 told ABC they received radar hits of "significant size" in the area, but their commander later said the readings were typical and not connected to the missing plane.
  • If the debris does turn out to be from the missing Boeing 777, the mystery will still be a long way from solved, the New York Times finds. The clues investigators really need will probably have sunk beneath the waves, and ocean currents could have carried floating debris hundreds of miles away from the crash site.
  • The FBI, meanwhile, says it is working with Malaysian authorities to analyze data deleted from a flight simulator found at the pilot's home. It's not clear whether the deleted files will prove relevant to the investigation and authorities stress that the pilot is being considered innocent.

A Royal Australian Air Force airborne electronics analyst watches a radar screen over the southern Indian Ocean during the search operation.
A Royal Australian Air Force airborne electronics analyst watches a radar screen over the southern Indian Ocean during the search operation.   (AP Photo/Australia Defence Department, Hamish Paterson)
This graphic shows an area, left bottom, in the southern Indian Ocean that the Australian Maritime Safety Authority is searching for the missing jet.
This graphic shows an area, left bottom, in the southern Indian Ocean that the Australian Maritime Safety Authority is searching for the missing jet.   (AP Photo/The Australian Maritime Safety Authority)
A Royal Australian Air Force flight engineer on board an AP-3C Orion over the Southern Indian Ocean off the Western Australian coast.
A Royal Australian Air Force flight engineer on board an AP-3C Orion over the Southern Indian Ocean off the Western Australian coast.   (AP Photo/Australia Defence Department, Hamish Paterson)
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