Malaysia Flight 370: French satellite images show possible jet debris

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- More satellite evidence emerged Sunday, this time from France, that there is possible airplane debris in the south Indian Ocean.

Malaysia said it received new satellite images from French authorities showing “potential objects in the vicinity of the southern corridor,” an area where a growing number of aircraft and ships have been combing for traces of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. The search continued Sunday, but there was no word of any debris sightings.

The new French images add to other satellite reports released a day earlier by China and Thursday by Australia that point to suspected debris roughly 1,500 miles southwest of Perth, capital of Western Australia.

PHOTOS: Missing Malaysia Airlines plane


Officials have cautioned that the objects captured by satellites, one estimated as long as 79 feet, may not be related to the plane that disappeared 15 days ago with 239 passengers and crew on board. And strong currents could make it difficult to pinpoint any possible debris.

Still, that more satellite images are spotting objects in this remote section of the Indian Ocean is raising hopes that there could soon be a breakthrough in one of the world’s greatest aviation mysteries. Flight 370 left Kuala Lumpur shortly after midnight March 8 en route to Beijing but vanished from radar screens. Investigators believe the Boeing 777 was intentionally diverted thousands of miles from its scheduled path.

Malaysia’s Ministry of Transport, which reported the French satellite finding, said in a statement that the government has relayed the new images to the Australian rescue coordination center. It did not provide details on when the images were taken, the estimated size of any objects or their precise location.

On Sunday, eight military and commercial aircraft searched a vast area of the sea with 20 volunteer human spotters and others peering out of windows for signs of debris, said the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, which is coordinating the multinational effort in this part of the south Indian Ocean.

Among the military aircraft deployed Sunday was a U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon, which was set to fly southwest of Perth toward the potential debris site announced by Australia, said Cmdr. William J. Marks, a spokesman for the U.S. 7th Fleet.

In an email statement, he said the weather in the southern Indian Ocean was much clearer Sunday than the past couple of days, “allowing for the full spectrum, electronic and visual, of search capability.”