Missing Malaysian Flight MH370: Ships pull possible debris from the Indian Ocean in hunt for plane

Ships trying to recover debris from Indian Ocean

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The Independent Online

Ships have pulled possible debris from the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 out of the Indian Ocean after another day of intensive searching.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said “a number of objects” had been retrieved from the sea by a Chinese and Australian vessel.

A spokesman for AMSA said they were not “confirmed to be related to MH370” and would be analysed.

Eight aircraft and a fleet of boats scoured an area of ocean larger than the United Kingdom on Saturday, reporting several sightings.

The search has stopped for the day and will resume on Sunday morning.

China’s state news agency said a Chinese military aircraft had spotted three objects floating in the sea from an altitude of 300 metres.

They were coloured white, red and orange respectively, a statement on Saturday morning said.

The sighting followed reports of “multiple objects of various colours” by international flight crews on Friday.

Despite numerous possible wreckage sightings, nothing has yet been confirmed as part of the aircraft that disappeared on 8 March on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

All 239 passengers and crew are presumed dead and investigators believe it crashed in the southern Indian Ocean.

The search is becoming increasingly urgent as batteries showing the location of in-flight voice recordings run out.

Authorities must find debris, calculate the crash area and recover the black boxes in about a week or vital clues to why the plane crashed will be lost.

Chinese ships trawled a new area on Saturday after Australian authorities moved the search 685 miles north in line with new analysis of radar and satellite data.

It showed the plane travelled faster and for a shorter distance than previously thought after vanishing from civilian radar screens.

AMSA cautioned that some items seen looked like they were from fishing boats and nothing could be confirmed until they were recovered by ships.

“We're hopeful to relocate some of the objects we were seeing yesterday,” Squadron Leader Flight Lieutenant Leon Fox, from the Royal New Zealand Air Force, said.

“Hopefully some of the ships in the area will be able to start picking it up and give us an indication of what we were seeing.”

The Chinese navy vessel Jinggangshan, which carries two helicopters, reached the new search area early on Saturday where it was expected to focus on searching for plane surfaces, oil slicks and life jackets in a sea area of some 6,900 sq km.

Another four Chinese vessels and one from Australia were on the way but would not arrive until late in the day.

Malaysia authorities said the Boeing 777, which vanished less than an hour into its flight, was probably diverted deliberately but no apparent motives have been found in investigations into anyone on board.

US officials close to the investigation said the FBI found nothing illuminating in data it had received from computer equipment used by MH370's pilots, including a home-made flight simulator.

The search has involved more than 24 countries and 60 aircraft and ships but has been hampered by regional rivalries and an apparent reluctance to share potentially crucial information due to security concerns.

Two Malaysian military aircraft that arrived in Perth on Saturday are expected to join the search.

Additional reporting by Reuters