MH370 Search Update: Evidence from Chinese Satellite and French Satellite Counted as ‘Credible Leads’ Raising Hope But Poor Weather Conditions Obstructs Search Efforts

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By jaskiran kaur | March 24, 2014 3:37 PM EST

Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 remains a mystery for the world. International search and rescue operation continues to delve into the search zone of MH370 to locate the missing Boeing 777.  The plane vanished on March 8, 2014 and even after 15 days of search efforts it continues to be missing. The latest update is that a French satellite has spotted some floating objects in the southern areas of Indian Ocean which are said to be 'potential objects' of the MH370 flight.

French authorities transmitted new satellite images displaying "potential objects" from the southern corridor which has been a focal point of the MH370 search from the last four days. This is the third time satellite images have been released, giving hope for the search and rescue operation of MH370.

On Thursday, images from Australian satellites were released which showed two objects of 24 metres length and 7 metres length. On Saturday, images that were taken on March 18 by Chinese satellites were released which showed objects that are related to the debris of missing Malaysian plane. The floating object located by Chinese satellite measured around 22.5 metres by 13 metres.  

"This morning, Malaysia received new satellite images from the French authorities showing potential objects in the vicinity of the southern corridor. Malaysia immediately relayed these images to the Australian rescue co-ordination centre," read the statement issued by Malaysian Transport Ministry as quoted by Yahoo AU.

These images were directly sent to Australian rescue teams as told by Malaysian Transport minister Hishammudin Hussein. Though many details have not been revealed, Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) confirmed sighting small objects like wooden pallet along with strapping belts spotted by civilian aircraft in the MH370 search zone.  

Mike Barton, the Rescue Coodination Centre chief at ASMA, in a briefing on Sunday, March 23, 2014 told that these wooden pallets are commonly used in aviation industry. However, he refrained from drawing early conclusions.

Authorities are now using datum buoys to track objects spotted in the ocean during the search and rescue efforts. It assists tracking objects in moving waters which continually changes the area.

"Over the last 24 hours there have been three significant developments - new satellite imagery, new Chinese satellite imagery, does seem to suggest at least one large object down there, consistent with the object that earlier satellite imagery discovered which I told the Australian Parliament about last week," updated Australian PM Tony Abbott to reporters in Papua New Guinea on Sunday Morning, March 23.  

In the briefing, Australian PM Tony Abbott also noted that the authorities have now uncovered "number of very credible leads and there is increasing hope" of discovering what happened to the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

Meanwhile, it is reported that poor weather conditions may hinder the search efforts. According to US News, rains in search area- 2500 kms (1550 miles) southwest of Perth- was expected to become worse due to rains. This means more complications for experts and observers searching the MH370 search zone.

Search efforts on Sunday, March 23, faced some challenges as "there was cloud down to the surface and at times we were completely enclosed by cloud," told Flight Lieutenant Russell Adams of the Royal Australian Air Force as quoted by US News.

Australian Transport Minister Warren Truss revealed that Sunday was a "fruitless day" for their search mission as "nothing of note" could be uncovered. He told that they are now searching in the area which is based on "French radar data." This is 850 kms (530 miles) north of the area they were searching previously. Furthermore, he told "a cyclone bearing down on the Australian northwest coast 'could stir up less favorable weather.'"

As the search continues for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, mystery continues to deepen. Friends and families of passengers are now growing frustrated in the absence of information and answers to their questions. Boeing 777 was travelling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board when it disappeared. MH370 has become one the biggest mysteries in aviation history.

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