Possible debris from MH 370 spotted in Indian Ocean

The Australian Maritime and Safety Agency has released two satellite photographs of objects that may be debris from Malaysia Airlines flight 370 floating in the Indian Ocean. The photographs date from March 16, and have been subjected to analysis by the Australian authorities. The UK Guardian reports:

It is important to point out that the satellite images of the objects released by Australia are four days old. They are dated Sunday 16 March. 

In his media statement John Young, the general manager of the Australian Maritime and Safety Authority, suggested the authorities had taken their time to analyse the images before stating that they could have been debris from MH370. 

To repeat he said: 

RCC Australia received an expert assessment of commercial satellite imagery on Thursday.

The images were captured by satellite. They may not be related to the aircraft.

The assessment of these images was provided by the Australian Geospatial-Intelligence Organisation as a possible indication of debris south of the search area that has been the focus of the search operation.

Tidal drift expert Simon Boxall from Southampton University said the currents in the area were very complex. He said: “If this does prove to be a positive sighting it narrows the search down, but it means we have gone from searching for a needle in a field of haystacks to a needle in a haystack.” 

Speaking to Sky News he said it took an “awful long time” to go through satellite imagery. 

Resportedly, 4 airplanes have been dispatched to the area, which is 1200 miles from Perth, Australia, but they will not have many hours before darkness falls. Even with the satellite data, owing to currents the search area is large. The Associated Press reports:

One of the objects spotted by satellite imagery had a dimension of almost 80 feet and the other one was smaller. There could be other objects in waters nearby in the area that’s a four-hour flight from Australia’s southwestern coast, said John Young, manager of Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s emergency response division.

“This is a lead, it’s probably the best lead we have right now,” said Young, while cautioning that the objects could also be seaborne debris along a shipping route where containers can fall off cargo vessels.

The area where the debris is spotted is consistent with the southern route the airplane may have been on.

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