Missing MH370: Confirmation needed on objects found

Missing MH370: Confirmation needed on objects found

SEPANG - The Malaysian authorities are waiting for confirmation from Australia whether the two objects spotted in the Indian Ocean by satellite imagery belong to the missing MH370 aircraft.

Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said today the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) had redeployed four aircraft to search the area, which is within the Australian search and rescue zone.

"Four aircraft have been re-orientated to an area 2,500 kilometres southwest of Perth.

"A Royal Australian Air Force P-3 Orion aircraft arrived in the area at about 10.15am today. Another three aircrafts have been tasked by the AMSA Rescue Coordination Centre, including a second RAAF Orion, a Royal New Zealand Air Force Orion, and a US Navy P-8 Poseidon.

"The Poseidon was expected to arrive in the area early this afternoon, while the second RAAF Orion departed its base in Perth mid-afternoon and the New Zealand Orion was due to leave this afternoon," he said.

Hishammuddin said while the sightings of the objects were a "credible lead", they are yet to be confirmed as being related to the missing aircraft.

He added there were currently 18 ships, 29 aircraft and six ship-borne helicopters deployed along the northern and southern corridors.

The AMSA earlier coordinated a operation with the help of the Australian Defence Force, the New Zealand Air Force and the United States Navy to check on the objects.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott was quoted by AFP telling parliament that "new and credible information" based on satellite imagery had come to light, and four long-range surveillance planes were being diverted to search the southern Indian Ocean.

AMSA search and rescue official John Young, however, cautioned against expectations that the debris belonged to the missing Beijing-bound plane.

"We have been in this business of doing search and rescue and using satellite images before and they do not always turn out to be related to the search even if they look good, so we will hold our views on that until they are sited close-up," he said during a press conference in Australia at noon today.

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