Six ships search for MH370 debris breakthrough in new area

Six ships search for MH370 debris breakthrough in new area

PERTH - A flotilla of ships was searching on Saturday for more objects identified by military aircraft as possible wreckage of MH370 as efforts to locate the missing Malaysia Airlines passenger jet stepped up a gear.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority said six ships - five of them Chinese - were expected to be in place in the search area 1,850 kilometres west of Perth by the end of Saturday.

It said a second Australian navy ship, HMAS Toowoomba, had left port near Perth to join the search in a journey which would take about three days.

Late on Saturday, a Chinese surveillance plane reported it found three more objects - white, red and orange - in the new search waters, Chinese state media reported.

As new aircraft, ships and a team of navy divers prepared to join the search, the head of New Zealand's Defence Force, Air Vice-Marshal Kevin Short, said the debris first sighted by its P3 Orion aircraft on Friday was between half a metre and one metre in size, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Most of the 11 objects were rectangular in shape, although there was another that was orange and resembled a shipping buoy.

Most were found in a relatively small area and sonar buoys had been dropped by the aircraft to assist ships who would be tasked to identity them, the report said.

Numerous satellite and air sightings of unidentified debris have raised hopes that wreckage of the Malaysia Airlines plane will finally be found.

On Monday Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced that, based on fresh British analysis of satellite data, the plane had been lost at sea.

But after three weeks of false leads and sometimes conflicting information, many desperate and angry relatives are refusing to abandon hope until physical proof of a crash is found.

"Everyone knows that you are concealing the truth and delayed the research!" one of them told Malaysian officials at a tense briefing in Beijing on latest developments.

Another said Najib had "rushed to a conclusion" with his announcement and should retract it. Most of the audience applauded loudly.

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