Objects spotted floating in the southern Indian Ocean in the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 are clustered together just outside the official search zone, Australian officials said.
“The objects are relatively indistinct on the imagery,” John Young, head of the emergency response division of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, told reporters in Canberra. “I don’t profess to be an expert in assessing the imagery but those who are expert indicate they are credible sightings.” “It’s probably the best lead we have right now but we have to get there, find them, see them, assess them, to know whether it’s really meaningful or not.” Young said an Australian Hercules transport plane was on its way to drop marker buoys that would provide floating GPS coordinates to assist drift modelling. “They will provide an ongoing reference point if the task of relocating the objects becomes protracted,” Young said.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Thursday that objects possibly related to the search for the MH370 plane have been spotted in the southern Indian Ocean, said on Thursday.
“The Australian Maritime Safety Authority has received information based on satellite information of objects possibly related to the search,” he told parliament.
“Following specialist analysis of this satellite imagery, two possible objects related to the search have been identified.” An Australian Orion maritime surveillance aircraft had been dispatched and was expected to arrive on the site within hours.
“We must keep in mind the task of locating these objects will be extremely difficult,” Abbott cautioned. “It may turn out that they are not related to the search for flight MH370,” he said.
The Beijing-bound aircraft, which had 239 people on board, disappeared after taking off from Kuala Lumpur International Airport on March 8.
Also on Thursday, Malaysia confirmed it has sought help from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation in examining material gathered from the houses of the missing airliner’s pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah and co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid, including laptop computers, mobile phones and a flight simulator.
“We don’t want to miss anything,” the source said on condition of anonymity. “We want to make sure that all leads are fully scrutinised.” US President Barack Obama told Fox News late on Wednesday that Washington has put “every resource we have available” to support efforts to solve the mystery.
British experts were also given access to the materials seized in Malaysia, the police source said.
Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said investigators were closely examining the flight simulator taken from the pilot’s house after it was found that some data had been deleted from it.
Police Inspector-General Khalid Abu Bakar said the data log from February 3 had been cleared from the flight simulator.