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Australia PM sees 'increasing hope' in search for MH370

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-03-23 14:23

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CANBERRA - Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot said Sunday there is "increasing hope" of finding wreckage from the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

Australia PM sees 'increasing hope' in search for MH370

This photo from the website of the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense shows an image Chinese satellite captured which reveals a floating objet in southern Indian Ocean possibly linked to missing fligh MH 370.

Abbott said in an interview in Papua New Guinea published by his office that it was still too early to definitely identify objects seen floating in the water by aircraft observers Saturday as they searched an area for an object spotted in Chinese satellite imagery.

"Obviously we have now had a number of very credible leads and there is increasing hope, no more than hope, no more than hope, that we might be on the road to discovering what did happen to this ill-fated aircraft," he said.

Abbott said the international cooperation was also raising hopes of finding remains of the aircraft.

Australia PM sees 'increasing hope' in search for MH370

"The more aircraft we have, the more ships we have, the more confident we are of recovering whatever material is down there and obviously before we can be too specific about what it might be, we do actually need to recover some of this material," he said.

"I want to say that this is a really big international effort and it does show that many countries are capable of pulling together in a time of trouble," said Abbott.

"It is a very important humanitarian exercise. We owe it to the almost 240 people on board the plane; we owe it to their grieving families; we owe it to the governments of the countries concerned to do everything we can to discover as much as we can about the fate of MH370."

The international search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 was expanded Sunday to cover a total of 59,000 square km in the southern Indian Ocean, Australia's maritime rescue agency announced.

The fourth day of the search would cover two areas determined by drift modeling within the same proximity about 2,500 km southwest of the city of Perth, said a statement from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA).

The search areas were based on information provided by China with satellite photos taken on March 18 showing an object measuring 22 meters by 13 meters floating in the water.

Although the object's position fell within Saturday's search area, it was not found.

However, AMSA had used the information in the development of the search area taking drift modelling into account.

"The Australian Maritime Safety Authority reiterates this is a challenging search operation and continues to hold grave fears for the passengers and crew on board the missing flight," said the statement.

A total of eight aircraft were involved in Sunday's search operation, including four civil aircraft and a United States Navy P8 Poseidon.

Two Chinese and two Japanese aircraft have also arrived to help with the search.

Australia PM sees 'increasing hope' in search for MH370

Australia PM sees 'increasing hope' in search for MH370

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