Debris sighting boosts search for missing Malaysia plane

Debris sighting boosts search for missing Malaysia plane
Japan's Maritime Self-Defence Force Personnel pose for pictures near a PC3 aircraft before taking off for Australia to join the search operation for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 at the Royal Malaysian Air Force base in Subang, outside Kuala Lumpur on March 23, 2014. China has new satellite images of one or more floating objects that could be related to missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, Malaysian Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said.

PERTH, Australia - Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Sunday there was "increasing hope" of finding missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, after a plane spotted unidentified debris including a wooden pallet in the Indian Ocean search site.

Visual contact with the debris was made on Saturday, as fresh Chinese satellite images emerged showing a large floating object in the same remote region around 2,500 kilometres (1,500 miles) southwest of Perth.

"It's still too early to be definite," Abbott told reporters during a visit to Papua New Guinea.

"But obviously we have now had a number of very credible leads and there is increasing hope -- no more than hope, no more than hope -- that we might be on the road to discovering what did happen to this ill-fated aircraft."

Resources for the international search effort triggered by the disappearance of the Boeing 777 on March 8 have flooded into the inhospitable stretch of southern ocean since Abbott released satellite images on Thursday showing possible wreckage.

The precise nature of the debris sighted on Saturday was unclear, but Abbott described "a number of small objects fairly close together... including, as I understand it, a wooden pallet."

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), which is coordinating operations in the search zone, was cautious in its appraisal of the new findings.

The small "objects of interest" were initially identified by observers on one of the civil aircraft engaged in the search, AMSA said in a statement.


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