New satellite images emerge in hunt for flight MH370
New satellite images emerge in hunt for flight MH370

Malaysia's civil aviation chief says no signs of the missing Malaysian jetliner have been found at a location where Chinese satellite images have shown what might be plane debris, the Associated Press reports.

Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman says planes searched the location Thursday. "There is nothing. We went there, there is nothing," he told reporters in Kuala Lumpur.

A search by two Vietnamese aircraft responding to information provided by a Chinese satellite has also failed to locate wreckage, a Reuters journalist on board a search plane said.

Aircraft repeatedly circled the area over the South China Sea but were unable to detect any objects, said the journalist, who flew aboard a Antonov 26 cargo plane for three hours.

Vietnamese and Malaysian planes were scanning waters where a Chinese government agency website said a satellite had photographed three "suspicious floating objects" on Sunday.


The location was close to where the plane lost contact with air traffic control.

Vietnamese military officials said earlier they had already searched the area, but a plane has been sent to check the area again.

"We are aware and we sent planes to cover that area over the past three days," Deputy Transport Minister Pham Quy Tieu told Reuters.

"Today a (military) plane will search the area again," he said.
A senior Chinese aviation official said that the authorities could not confirm any link between the floating objects captured on Chinese satellite images to the Malaysia Airlines jet, Associated Press reports.

"It is true that the satellite was launched and detected some smoke and what were suspected metal shreds about 37 kilometers (23 miles) southwest of Ho Chi Minh City," said Li Jiaxiang, chief of the Civil Aviation Administration of China. "But after some review, we cannot confirm that they belong to the missing plane."

A new satellite image found by Chinese authorities may have located three objects close to Malaysia Airlines flight MH370's flight path.

The three objects of varying sizes were spotted in the sea off the southern tip of Vietnam and east of Malaysia on Sunday morning.

CNN reported that a Chinese satellite looking for the missing plane "observed a suspected crash area at sea".

China's State Administration for Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense revealed it had images of "three suspected floating objects and their sizes."

The reports say the three large objects were 13 by 18 metres (43 by 59 feet), 14 by 19 metres and 24 by 22 metres.

The last object was described as about the length of a bus.

The images were captured on March 9, the day after the plane went missing, but weren't released until today.

The new evidence suggested that the plane had not diverted course as earlier reports claimed.

CNN reports the images were more in line with the plane's original flight path, just to the right of the last radar image of the plane.

Search and rescue officials have widened their search area after evidence suggested the plane veered off course. Photo: AP

Cracking and corrosion

Months before the Malaysia Airlines jet vanished, US regulators had warned of a "cracking and corrosion" problem on Boeing 777s that could lead to a mid-air breakup and drastic drop in cabin pressure.

"We are issuing this AD (Airworthiness Directive) to detect and correct cracking and corrosion in the fuselage skin, which could lead to rapid decompression and loss of structural integrity of the airplane," the Federal Aviation Administration said.

It had circulated a draft of the warning in September, issuing a final directive on March 5, three days before MH370 disappeared.

In Malaysia, frustrations were boiling over with the country's active social media and some press outlets turning from sympathy for the families of relatives to anger over the fruitless search.

"The mood among Malaysians now is moving from patience... to embarrassment and anger over discrepancies about passengers, offloaded baggage and concealed information about its last known position," Malaysian Insider, a leading news portal, said in a commentary.

Twitter users took aim at the web of contradictory information that has fuelled conspiracy theories.

"If the Malaysian military did not see MH370 turn toward the Malacca Strait, then why the search? Who decided to look there and why?" one comment said.

The anger was compounded by a report aired on Australian television of a past cockpit security breach involving the co-pilot of the missing jet.

Malaysia Airlines said it was "shocked" over allegations that First Officer Fariq Abdul Hamid, 27, along with a fellow pilot, violated airline rules in 2011 by allowing two young South African women into their cockpit during a flight.

Crowdsource search for plane

Hundreds of thousands of volunteers are examining images to try and find the missing plane, which disappeared on Saturday.

DigitalGlobal activated its crowdsourcing platform Monday in an effort to locate the Boeing 777 that mysteriously disappeared Saturday en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people aboard.

The company invited volunteers to comb through images from its Tomnod platform of satellite images for clues that may help locate the aircraft.

DigitalGlobe says it operates "the world's most advanced constellation of commercial imaging satellites" and that after the plane went missing, it activated its emergency system.

Two of the company's satellites collected imagery Sunday of the area where evidence suggested the aircraft may have crashed into the water -- where the Gulf of Thailand meets the South China Sea.

The DigitalGlobe website posted comments from people offering to help and those frustrated when the system went down.

Several comments said simply "count me in," while one visitor wrote: "I am a former Navy patrol plane commander. I believe I can tell aircraft debris when I see it."

The crowdsourcing effort overloaded the servers on Wednesday, with the digital company struggling to handle the huge number of people trying to find the plane.

People leave messages of support for the passengers and crew of missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. Photo: AP

"We are working to best handle an unprecedented level of Web traffic and interest in supporting the search," the company said at the time.

"Please check back soon. We have new imagery collections planned for today and hope to make those images available online for the crowd as soon as possible."

As of 7am this morning, the site was working intermittently.

Join us for a special Seven News presentation tonight where the team will examine all the evidence in an attempt to unravel the mystery behind the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight 370.

Broadcast times:

8.30pm in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth
9.30pm in Adelaide

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