CORRECTS THE SOURCE - In this March 16, 2014 satellite imagery provided by Commonwealth of Australia - Department of Defence on Thursday, March 20, 2014, a floating object is seen at sea next to the descriptor which was added by the source. Australia's government reported Thursday, March 20, 2014 that the images show suspected debris from the missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner floating in an area 2,500 kilometers (1,550 miles) southwest of Perth Australia. (AP Photo/Commonwealth of Australia - Department of Defence) (Ho)

Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 update: Australian official worries debris may have sunk

China, Britain and India are joining the search. Australian Prime Minister says they'll continue searching

Sarah Gray
March 21, 2014 9:56PM (UTC)

On Thursday, March 20 Australian officials announced that two objects had been spotted on satellite images. One was around 79 feet in length and it is possible, although not certain, that this could be debris from missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. After two days of searching the southern Indian Ocean, where the debris supposedly was, nothing has been found.

According to Reuters, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has remained resolute. "It's about the most inaccessible spot that you can imagine on the face of the Earth, but if there is anything down there, we will find it," he said to press in Papua New Guinea. Despite his resolve to find the missing plane he did acknowledge that the objects on the radar may not have been the plane.


"Now it could just be a container that's fallen off a ship," Abbott cautioned, according to Reuters. "We just don't know, but we owe it to the families and the friends and the loved ones to do everything we can to try to resolve what is as yet an extraordinary riddle."

Other Australian officials brought up possible issues with finding the missing plane. In Perth, Australia, Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss said, "Something that was floating on the sea that long ago may no longer be floating. It may have slipped to the bottom."

Two unsuccessful days of scouring the ocean with planes and a merchant ship have not deterred other countries from helping. According to Reuters, India is sending a Poseidon P-8I aircraft and a C-130 Hercules transporter to the Indian Ocean. It is also sending another P-8I aircraft to the Andaman Sea. The plane was last seen on military radar around the Andaman Sea.


According to Reuters, "Up to five more Chinese ships, with three ship-borne helicopters, were steaming towards the search zone from across the Indian Ocean." A Chinese icebreaker that was docked in Perth is also on its way, and Britain is also has a HMS Echo ship en route. Currently a Norwegian merchant ship is searching the area and another merchant ship should arrive by Saturday.

Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 has been missing since March 8. The flight, which originated in Kaula Lumpur, Malaysia failed to land at its destination in Beijing, China. The circumstances surrounding its disappearance have been difficult to parse. It is now believed that the flight changed directions and headed west, and after 40 minutes the plane's responders shut off. There were 239 people on board the flight.



h/t Reuters

Sarah Gray

Sarah Gray is an assistant editor at Salon, focusing on innovation. Follow @sarahhhgray or email

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China Great Britain India Malaysia Airlines Flight Mh370 Missing Plane Search And Rescue Tony Abbott

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