KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — In a new development in the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, a Chinese satellite has spotted a large object floating in the southern Indian Ocean, Malaysia's defense minister said Saturday.
The minister, Hishammuddin Hussein, reading from a piece of paper handed to him during a regular press briefing, said that the debris in the satellite imagery measured 74 feet by 43 feet. He said the Chinese would be sending ships to that area to verify.
Later Saturday, China's state-owned media CCTV tweeted an image of the object, and said it was captured by satellite Tuesday and located about 75 miles southwest of the debris spotted by Australia. The Australian image was taken last Sunday.
The finding by the Chinese reflects its substantial satellite capabilities and increasing involvement in the multinational search and rescue efforts for the missing airplane, now entering its third week.
China already has five ships in the so-called southern corridor of the search area that has become the focus of the investigation and is sending two more, Hishammuddin said in a statement during the press briefing, which was cut short by the satellite sighting news. He also said two Chinese aircraft capable of hauling heavy cargo were expected to arrive Saturday in Perth to join the operations.
The announcement came as an Australian-led team of aircraft was in its third day of scouring a remote section of the south Indian Ocean after Australian officials Thursday reported satellite imagery of two objects that could be related to the Boeing jetliner that disappeared March 8 with 239 people on board, the majority of them Chinese. The larger of these two objects was estimated to be about 79 feet long.
Australian officials reported no luck Saturday in finding any debris after a visual and radar search in a large area about 1,500 miles off Australian west coast city of Perth.
The Chinese planes will join Australian, New Zealand and U.S. aircraft in the search. Japanese planes will arrive Sunday and it had ships in the area or on their way, the Associated Press reported.