MH370 jet hunt: ‘credible lead’ shifts search area

Australia shifts search to a new site more than 1,000 km north after new analysis provided by the international investigative team in Malaysia

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The search area for the lost Malaysian jetliner moved 1,100 kilometers to the northeast on Friday, following a new analysis of radar data, and a plane quickly found objects that a ship set out to investigate, The Associated Press reported.

A New Zealand military plane found the object, however, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said on Twitter that it would likely be Saturday before one of the six ships on the way could and determine whether the objects were plane wreckage.

Australia abandoned the previous search area in the southern Indian Ocean due to a “credible lead.”

“We have moved on from those search areas to the newest credible lead,” Reuters quoted John Young, general manager of the emergency response division of AMSA, as telling reporters in Canberra.

Young said the revised data, which was based on the jet travelling at a faster but constant speed than previously thought, could be revised still further as analysis continued.

The revised search area comes as the weather cleared enough Friday to allow planes to hunt for fresh clues to the fate of the plane carrying 239 people that went missing March 8.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority said the change was based on new analysis provided by the international investigative team in Malaysia.

“This is a credible new lead and will be thoroughly investigated today,” Agence France-Presse quoted Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott as saying Friday.

“This is an extraordinarily difficult search, and an agonizing wait for family and friends of the passengers and crew,” he said.

“We owe it to them to follow every credible lead and to keep the public informed of significant new developments. That is what we are doing.”

Japan spots objects

Meanwhile, Japan said Friday that its satellite images have shown around 10 floating objects off Australia that are “very probably” from missing Malaysia Airlines, AFP reported.

The objects were spotted in remote waters about 2,500 kilometers (1,550 miles) southwest of Perth, according to the Cabinet Satellite Intelligence Center.

They were floating in an area 10 kilometers (six miles) in radius centering at 44 degrees, 17 minutes south latitude and 90 degrees, 56 minutes east longitude, it said.

The images were captured by a Japanese “information-gathering” satellite between 0000 GMT and 0600 GMT Wednesday.

“It is the area close to where objects were found earlier by other satellites,” said Shinichiro Maki at the government office.

The objects are highly likely to be part of the missing MH370, given their location and their proximity to other finds, he said.

“We cannot say this for sure, but they are very probably pieces of debris from the Malaysian aircraft,” he said.

The biggest of the objects is a rectangular piece measuring up to eight meters (26.4 feet) by four meters.

(With AFP and Reuters)

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