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U.S. Navy P-8 Finds No Sign of 'Objects' Reported by China

 / Updated 

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A U.S. Navy plane searching for missing Flight 370 could find no trace of the "suspicious objects" in the southern Indian Ocean that a Chinese plane reportedly spotted earlier, Australian officials said Monday.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority said that the American P-8 Poseidon was unable to verify the earlier sighting of "relatively big floating objects" and "many white smaller ones."

The P-8 Poseidon is based on the design of a Boeing 737 passenger jet but is packed with cutting-edge military equipment.

Earlier, China's Foreign Ministry said that Beijing could not confirm that objects spotted by a military aircraft were connected with the missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner.

The possible Chinese sighting followed reports by an Australian crew over the weekend of a floating wooden pallet and strapping belts in an area of the icy southern Indian Ocean that was identified after satellites recorded images of potential debris.

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Flight MH370 vanished from civilian radar screens less than an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur for Beijing with 239 people on board on March 8.

Attention and resources in the search for the Boeing 777 have shifted from an initial focus north of the equator to an increasingly narrowed stretch of rough sea in the southern Indian Ocean, thousands of miles from the plane's original flight path.

Henry Austin of NBC News and Reuters contributed to this report.

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