CHINA - Friends and family members of the Chinese passengers on the missing Malaysia Airlines plane told of their devastation on Thursday after Australian authorities said new satellite imagery had located two large objects possibly related to the flight. During a phone call with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, President Xi Jinping said China will keep close contact and cooperation with Australia in the search. He pledged all-out efforts as long as hope remains.
One of the objects, found in the Indian Ocean about 2,500 km southwest of the Australian city of Perth, is about 24 meters long.
This was disclosed by John Young, general manager of the emergency response division of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, at a news conference. Four aircraft were redirected to search for the objects. However, the aircraft failed to locate the objects on Thursday because of poor visibility and the Australian authorities suspended the hunt until Friday. Abbott said at a news conference, "This is probably the best lead we have right now."
Young said the satellite imagery was insufficiently detailed to provide a direct link with the Boeing 777-200.
But he said there is a possibility that the objects might be debris from flight MH370, which was carrying 239 crew and passengers, including 154 Chinese, when it disappeared from radar screens on March 8
on a flight from Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian capital, to Beijing.
The satellite images, provided by US company DigitalGlobe, are stamped with a recorded date of March 16, meaning that the objects could have drifted far from the original site by now.
Some family members and friends of the Chinese passengers watched the Australian Maritime Safety Authority news conference live at the Metropark Lido Hotel in Beijing, where they have been accommodated by Malaysia Airlines. Many said they felt devastated on hearing about the possible new clues in the hunt for the plane.
"The news of finding possible debris means my son's chances of survival have become extremely small," a man surnamed Zou said.