Following reports that new satellite images have identified floating debris that could be remnants of the missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200 flight MH370, search efforts have been further ramped up in the south Indian Ocean.
Nothing has been confirmed or located by aircraft and ships in the search area, but the mission to find the aircraft – which disappeared March 8 on a routine flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board – has vastly expanded and intensified in the area.
Malaysian authorities believe the aircraft was deliberately steered far west off its planned route.
Malaysia’s Ministry of Transport, stated Sunday that “this morning, Malaysia received new satellite images from the French authorities showing potential objects in the vicinity of the southern corridor.”
In addition, Australia, China and France have all released satellite images that show “potential objects” which could be wreckage from MH370, in the broad search area west of Perth, Western Australia.
According to a report from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), the latest search has been split into two areas within the same 59,000 square kilometers of ocean, determined by drift modelling from the Chinese satellite sighting. However, a Royal New Zealand Air Force
P-3 Orion maritime surveillance aircraft using specialist electro-optic observation equipment has so far failed to find any debris in those zones.
Two Chinese Air Force Ilyushin IL-76 aircraft are preparing for duties in the same search areas, alongside military aircraft from the US (P-8 Poseidons), Australia (P-3s) and New Zealand (P-3s). Two Japanese P-3s are also being flown to Perth.
Civilian aircraft, including two Bombardier Global Expresses, a Gulfstream V and an Airbus A319, are also working with in the task force, which is being coordinated by Australia, “the lead country in the area of concern” according to Malaysian authorities.
Poor weather is continuing to hamper aircraft proceeding to the search area. Indian Navy aircraft had to cancel planned flights to join the operation due to bad weather from tropical cyclone Gillian. But conditions in the search zone are said to be improving.