Australia-led Plane Hunt Continues After 'Credible Lead'
The Australia-led search and recovery operation for the crashed Malaysian airliner resumed today with six military aircraft, five civil aircraft and five ships in the search and rescue region in the southern Indian Ocean.
Yesterday, in what Malaysia called the "most credible lead" so far in the multi-nation hunt for the lost Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, 122 objects were spotted in the remote southern Indian Ocean off the western Australian coast by French satellites that could possibly be debris of the ill-fated plane that went missing 18 days ago.
Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said in an official statement, "Search activities today will involve a total of 11 aircraft and five ships.
Today's search is split into two areas within the same proximity covering a cumulative 78,000 square kilometres".
Two Royal Australian Air Force AP-3C Orions, a Chinese Ilyushin IL-76, a Japanese Gulfstream jet, a US Navy P-8 Poseidon and a Japanese P-3 Orion are expected to fly throughout the day and the first aircraft to leave Perth for the search area was the Chinese Ilyushin this morning at 8 am (local time).
The two RAAF AP-3C Orions were also scheduled to join the search operations before midday, AMSA said.
Five civil aircraft are scheduled to depart between 9.30 am and 11 am (local time) and 34 emergency volunteers will again be air observers on board the aircraft.
A Japan Coast Guard ultra-long range jet, a US Navy P8 Poseidon, and a Japanese P3 Orion were all scheduled to fly for the mission.
Meanwhile, weather in the search area was expected to deteriorate later today.
AMSA said aircraft spotted three objects yesterday but were not able to relocate them despite several passes.
They were unrelated to the credible satellite imagery provided to AMSA, it said.
The latest 122 objects were detected on Sunday, a day before Malaysia announced that the Boeing 777-200 had crashed in the southern Indian Ocean without any survivors.
Malaysia received the new satellite images that were taken on Sunday from France-based aviation major Airbus.
The new images showed potential objects about 2,557 km from Perth in the southern Indian Ocean and ranged from 1 metre to 23 metres in sizes.
The Beijing-bound plane - carrying 239 people, including five Indians, an Indo-Canadian and 154 Chinese nationals - had vanished after taking off from Kuala Lumpur.