Japan satellite spots 'probable' MH370 objects

Japan satellite spots 'probable' MH370 objects

TOKYO - Japanese satellite images have shown around 10 floating objects off Australia that are "very probably" from missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, the government said Friday.

The objects were spotted in remote waters about 2,500 kilometres (1,550 miles) southwest of Perth, according to the Cabinet Satellite Intelligence Center.

They were floating in an area 10 kilometres (six miles) in radius centring at 44 degrees, 17 minutes south latitude and 90 degrees, 56 minutes east longitude, it said.

The images were captured by a Japanese "information-gathering" satellite between 0000 GMT and 0600 GMT Wednesday.

"It is the area close to where objects were found earlier by other satellites," said Shinichiro Maki at the government office.

The objects are highly likely to be part of the missing MH370, given their location and their proximity to other finds, he said.

"We cannot say this for sure, but they are very probably pieces of debris from the Malaysian aircraft," he said.

The biggest of the objects is a rectangular piece measuring up to eight metres (26.4 feet) by four metres.

Australia earlier announced a fresh search zone northeast of the area which has been the focus of the search for the past week.

It was not immediately clear whether the objects spotted by Japan lay within the new zone.

Japan has provided the location and other information to the Malaysian government but has not handed over satellite images to it or to the press for security reasons, he said.

"The satellite is owned by the Japanese government for security purposes and the images themselves are highly confidential," he told AFP on the phone.

Japan says it operates information-gathering satellites primarily to collect information on North Korean missile threats and large natural disasters.

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