FLIGHT 370 LATEST: French satellite finds possible plane debris

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LATEST NEWS

• Satellite finds possible plane debris field containing 122 objects

• Search resumes after fierce winds and high waves force delays

• Passengers' relatives berate Malaysian government and airline officials

SATELLITE IMAGES REVEAL 122 OBJECTS

A French satellite scanning the Indian Ocean for remnants of a missing jetliner found a possible plane debris field containing 122 objects.

Clouds obscured the latest satellite images, but dozens of objects could be seen in the gaps, indicating solid materials.


(AP Photo/Malaysian Remote Sensing Agency)

The images are the first to suggest that a debris field from the plane — rather than just a few objects — may be floating in the southern Indian Ocean, though no wreckage has been confirmed.

Malaysia's defense minister and acting transport minister showed the latest satellite image at a news conference in Kuala Lumpur.


(AP Photo/Joshua Paul)

The minister, Hishammuddin Hussein, said the objects were spotted not far from where three other satellites had previously detected objects.

SEARCH RESUMES FROM PERTH

The search for the plane was able to continue Wednesday after fierce winds and high waves forced crews to take a break the previous day.

However, Australia's Bureau of Meteorology warned that the weather was expected to deteriorate again Thursday, with thunderstorms, low clouds and strong winds on the way.

A total of 12 planes and five ships from the United States, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand are participating in the search, hoping to find even a single piece of the jet that can offer tangible evidence of a crash and, if that happens, discover clues to find the rest of the wreckage.


(AP Photo/Rob Griffith)

PASSENGERS' FAMILIES PROTEST IN CHINA

Hishammuddin, the Malaysian minister, expressed exasperation with the anger rising in China among missing passengers' relatives, who berated the Malaysian government and airline officials earlier in the day in Beijing.

The Chinese government permitted a rare protest outside the Malaysian Embassy in Beijing. Relatives chanted slogans, threw water bottles and tussled briefly with police, who kept them separated from a swarm of journalists.

About two-thirds of the missing passengers are Chinese, but Hishammuddin pointedly said that Chinese families "must also understand that we in Malaysia also lost our loved ones" as did "so many other nations."

WHAT ELSE YOU NEED TO KNOW

The Search Zone

The new data has vastly shrunk search zone for the plane, but it remains huge. It's an area estimated at 622,000 square miles, about the size of Alaska.

The Black Box:

A Towed Pinger Locator from the U.S. has arrived in Perth along with a Bluefin-21 underwater drone. The equipment, pulled behind a vessel at slow speeds, has highly sensitive listening capability that can detect pings from a plane's so-called black box down to a depth of 20,000 feet.

But there's a race against the clock to find Flight 370’s black boxes, whose battery-powered "pinger" could stop sending signals within two weeks. The batteries are designed to last at least a month.

The Timeline:

Even if the crash site is found, the search for the wreckage and the plane's flight data and cockpit voice recorders could take years because the ocean can extend to up to 23,000 feet deep in some parts.

It took two years to find the black box from an Air France jet that went down in the Atlantic Ocean on a flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris in 2009, and searchers knew within days where the crash site was.

READ MORE

Flight 370: Complete Coverage

 

REPORTING BY TODD PITMAN and ROB GRIFFITH.

Griffith reported from Perth, Australia. AP writers Eileen Ng and Scott McDonald in Kuala Lumpur, Christopher Bodeen and Didi Tang in Beijing, Danica Kirka in London, Kristen Gelineau in Sydney, Nick Perry in Wellington, New Zealand, and Greg Keller in Paris contributed to this report.

 
 
 

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