Debris search ends for day
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia—An air search in the southern Indian Ocean for possible objects from the missing Malaysia Airlines plane described as the “best lead” so far ended for the day without success today but will resume in the morning, Australian rescue officials said.
The four planes were checking to see if two large objects spotted in satellite imagery bobbing in the remote ocean were debris from Fight 370 that disappeared March 8 with 239 people on board.
There could be other objects in the area—a four-hour flight from Australia’s southwestern coast, said John Young, manager of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s emergency response division.
“This is a lead, it’s probably the best lead we have right now,” Young noted.
He cautioned the objects could be sea-borne debris along a shipping route where containers can fall off cargo vessels, although the larger object is longer than a container.
A statement from the authority said the four planes searched an area of 23,000 square km about 2,500 km southwest of Perth today without success.
“The search will continue on Friday,” it said.
News that possible plane parts had been found marked a new phase in the emotional roller-coaster for distraught relatives of the passengers, who have criticized Malaysia harshly for not releasing timely information about the plane.
While they still hope their loved ones somehow will be found, they acknowledged that news of the possible debris could mean the plane plunged into the ocean.
“If it turns out that it is truly MH370, then we will accept that fate,” said Selamat Bin Omar, the father of a Malaysian passenger on the jet, which carried mostly Chinese and Malaysian nationals.
But he added that relatives still “do not yet know for sure whether this is indeed MH370 or something else.”
“Therefore we are still waiting for further notice from the Australian government.”
Malaysian Defence minister Hishammuddin Hussein told a news conference today that “for all the families around the world, the one piece of information that they want most is the information we just don’t have—the location of MH370.”
The area where the debris was spotted is about halfway between Australia and desolate islands off Antarctica.