An Indonesian National Search and Rescue Agency boat searches around the northern tip of Sumatra for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370 on Monday
An Indonesian National Search and Rescue Agency boat searches around the northern tip of Sumatra for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370 on Monday

An Australian plane spotted two objects today — described as “circular” and “rectangular” — in the south Indian Ocean while searching for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 — evidence described as “new leads” but “nothing conclusive,” Malaysian officials said.

Malaysian officials said Australia’s HMAS Success was attempting to locate he objects as soon as “the next few hours” to see if they are related to missing plane.

“It?s possible that HMAS Success could pick up the objects within the next few hours or by tomorrow morning at the latest,” Malaysia?s Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said during a news conference. “It is currently the only vessel in the search area.”

Hussein said they are working to “narrow the search area” and that 18,500-square nautical miles had already been searched.

The announcement came hours after other “suspicious objects” had been spotted by a Chinese aircraft while searching for missing jetliner, but could not be located by the U.S. Navy, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said.

 

The crew aboard an IL-76 plane spotted the two relatively big floating objects with many white smaller ones scattered over several square miles within the search area, according to China’s Xinhua News Agency. The U.S.’s P-8 Poseidon was unable to subsequently locate the objects.

The coordinates of the potential plane’s debris were reported to the to the Australian command center, which is coordinating the multinational search.

The?P-8 Poseidon?was tasked to investigate the reported object sightings by the Chinese aircraft at 33,000 feet, but that the American military plane was unable to relocate the objects,?AMSA tweeted.

The Chinese plane was one of two Ilyushins that joined the search today from Perth, Australia, increasing the number of aircraft to 10. The U.S. Navy has also moved a black box locator into the region to aid in the search. The Towed Pinger Locator is dragged behind a vessel and can hear the beeps from black boxes all way down to a depth of 20,000 feet.

Satellite images from Australia and China had earlier identified possible debris in the area, but searchers in the air have yet to find these objects and confirm they are connected to missing Flight MH370. What was believed to be a wooden pallet that could have come from the jet was seen by one plane Saturday, but another search plane sent to photograph it could not locate the pallet.

Hishammuddin said the missing jetliner was carrying wooden pallets, but said there’s no confirmation whether they are linked to pallets found in the water.

Malaysian authorities also said they had also interviewed over 100 people as part of the investigation, including the families of the pilot and co-pilot, but offered no other details.

Malaysian authorities are considering the possibilities of hijacking, sabotage, terrorism or issues related to the mental health of the pilots or anyone else on board.

The Associated Press

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