Jet Searchers Spot 'Circular,' 'Rectangular' Objects
They could be retrieved as early as today
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 24, 2014 6:33 AM CDT
Updated Mar 24, 2014 7:58 AM CDT
A Royal Australia Air Force AP-3C Orion leaves the RAAF Pearce Air Base, Sunday, March 23, 2014 in Perth, Australia, to continue the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.   (AP Photo/Matt Jelonek, Pool)

(Newser) – Are searchers finally closing in on the missing Malaysia Airlines plane? A number of objects were spotted today, after several reports of possible debris spotted over the weekend:

  • An Australian plane saw an "orange rectangular object" and a "gray or green circular object" in the southern Indian Ocean about 1,550 miles southwest of Perth, NBC News reports. No official word yet on what the objects might be, but officials expect them to be retrieved soon, possibly later today or tomorrow morning. The Telegraph notes that aviation experts at the BBC think the objects could be life rafts or emergency exit slides.
  • In a separate sighting today, a Chinese plane saw two large objects and several smaller ones in a part of the southern Indian Ocean that, according to multiple satellite images, could contain debris from Flight 370. One of the objects was white and square, the AP reports, and a camera on the Chinese plane reportedly got a picture of it. China has redirected an icebreaker to investigate; the objects are said to be scattered over several square miles. But a US Navy plane that the Telegraph calls "the most advanced search aircraft in the world" was unable to verify the sighting.

  • The US is sending a black box locator to the area in case a debris field is found. The Towed Pinger Locator is pulled behind a vessel moving slowly, and can hear the black box pinger down to a depth of 20,000 feet. An officer says they're simply planning ahead so they can act quickly if a debris field is confirmed, "since the battery life of the black box's pinger is limited."
  • The Malaysian government has confirmed the plane was carrying wooden pallets, but says in a statement, "there is as yet no evidence that these are related to the wooden pallets reportedly sighted in the Australian search area" this weekend.
  • Meanwhile, another Malaysia Airlines plane had to make an emergency landing in Hong Kong last night when a generator failed, the South China Morning Post reports. The airline said the landing was "uneventful."