A Chinese government satellite has spotted possible debris close to the remote ocean zone west of Australia where planes and ships were already searching, it was announced Saturday.
An object measuring 22 meters by 13 meters [72 feet by 42 feet] was seen by a Chinese satellite, Malaysia’s transport minister told reporters at the daily news briefing in Kuala Lumpur on the two-week-long search for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
Local reports in China said the satellite images showed the object about 74 miles southwest of the possible debris that was revealed by Australian authorities on Thursday. The China satellite image was taken on Tuesday, while the images from Australia were taken on Sunday.
Chinese state television posted a picture on Twitter of a satellite image that it said showed the object.
China was sending ships to the area to investigate and would be giving more information later, Hishamuddin said. However, there was no word from China and no sign of an official announcement.
The development was revealed in a dramatic fashion at the end of an otherwise routine media briefing, when Hishamuddin was passed a note by an official. “All I know is what is in this note,” he said, holding up the scrap of paper.
Chinese online news site, PeopleNet, says the object was found south latitude 44.57 degrees, east longitude 90.13 degress, quoting the the State Science and Technology Industry Commission for National Defense which controls China's satellites.
The development came as the third day of air and sea search 1,4000 miles southwest off Perth, Australia ended without success.
Searches by more than two dozen countries have so far turned up little but frustration and fresh questions about Flight MH370.
John Boxley contributed to this report.
First published March 22 2014, 3:06 AM