Satellite images may be related to MH370

Updated: 2014-03-23 08:16

By Hu Yongqi in Beijing and Peng Yining in Kuala Lumpur (China Daily)

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The new satellite images China released on Saturday of a floating object in the southern Indian Ocean, possibly related to the Malaysia Airlines jetliner that has been missing for 15 days, have fueled the anger of the missing passengers' families.

The floating object - 22.5 meters long and 13 meters wide - is 120 kilometers southwest of the two floating objects Australia announced two days ago, the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense said in a statement on its website.

The images were obtained on March 18 by Chinese satellites, the statement said. The Chinese embassy to Malaysia said on its website that it is still not sure the floating object is related to the missing aircraft.

Seven countries - China, India, Pakistan, Myanmar, Laos, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan - informed investigators that their nations had no radar sightings of the missing jetliner based on preliminary information, said Hishammuddin Hussein, Malaysia's acting minister of transport.

Two Ilyushin IL-76 transport planes sent by the Chinese air force arrived at the Australian air base in the city of Perth, 2,500 km northeast of the two suspected objects, to begin a search operation. The Yun-8 cargo plane, which arrived in Malaysia on Friday, will start a search operation at the Subang air base, Hussein said.

In addition to the planes, China also sent two more ships from the Andaman Sea to join five already in the southern corridor, the acting minister said.

The Telegraph reported on Friday that it got a transcript recording 54 minutes of conversation between the cockpit and ground control from taxiing in Kuala Lumpur to the final message of "All right, good night".

Hussein confirmed that the transcript did not indicate anything abnormal.

Malaysia Airlines CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said the transcript is "inaccurate" but did not provide additional details.

Hussein said that all cargo was loaded onto missing Flight MH370 according to the international standard.

The missing passengers' families in Beijing said they wanted to be informed with the "truth". They protested against Malaysian officials who refused to answer the questions they raised in Beijing and left the hotel.

"As long as there is hope, we will continue with the search," Hussein said.

(China Daily 03/23/2014 page1)