US search plane unable to locate Chinese-spotted 'objects'

US search plane unable to locate Chinese-spotted 'objects'

BEIJING - A US search plane has been unable to find "suspicious objects" spotted by Chinese aircrew searching for vanished Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean, Australian authorities said Monday.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said on its verified Twitter account that a US Navy P8 Poseidon was "unable to relocate" objects first spotted earlier Monday by a Chinese Ilyushin-76 search plane.

Searchers had used drift modelling to try to pinpoint the objects' location, it added.

China's official Xinhua news agency said earlier that the Chinese aircrew had sighted "two relatively big floating objects with many white smaller ones scattered within a radius of several kilometres".

The larger objects were "white and square", it added, saying that the crew had reported the coordinates -- 95.1113 degrees east and 42.5453 south -- to the Australian command centre and the Chinese icebreaker Xuelong, which was on its way to the area.

China's foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei pointed out: "As for now it is yet to be verified whether or not this floating object is related to the missing aircraft.

"Three Chinese naval vessels and the scientific research vessel Xuelong are expected to arrive in the relevant waters tomorrow or the day after tomorrow for the search," he added.

Flight MH370 disappeared from civilian radar on March 8, nearly an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur for Beijing.

Chinese passengers comprised two-thirds of the 239 people aboard the Boeing 777.

According to Xinhua, two Chinese planes that had been searching the area were returning to Perth, and the crew had asked Australia to send more aircraft to the area.

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