Missing Flight MH370: Objects Spotted by NZ Orion Not Plane Debris; Australia's Ex-Defence Chief Heads JACC

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By Reissa Su | March 31, 2014 1:49 PM EST

Objects spotted by the Royal New Zealand Air Force crew turned out to be not related to the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 based on photographic analysis. Despite the negative results, the New Zealand's Joint Forces Air Vice-Marshal Kevin Short said the crew remains positive despite the "difficult and demanding" work.

REUTERS/Samsul Said
A woman writes a message on a board dedicated to passengers onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 and their family members, in Petaling Jaya March 19, 2014.

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According to reports, the search for the lost Malaysian Airlines plane continues after a number of objects retrieved by the two ships were confirmed having nothing to do with Flight MH370.

Royal New Zealand Air Force P3 Orion had first spotted the debris while four planes were searching in the new target location off the west coast of Australia. The Orion had reportedly found 11 objects about 1600 kilometres on the west of Perth last March 28 and spotted three new items believed to be from the missing plane.

However, all objects were declared negative of having any connection to Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 after placing them under photographic analysis.  Mr Short said the crew and aircraft have been doing "extremely well." He said it was difficult to scan the ocean for small items and fly low at slow speed since this requires total concentration.

The Air Vice-Marshal said the New Zealand crew was well-trained and declared the Orion, which had received new upgrades, was one of the most "sophisticated" aircraft in the world. The New Zealand plane has already flown a total of 127 hours to search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in the last 21 days.

Meanwhile, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said had confirmed that the objects recovered by two ships from the ocean on March 30 were also found not to be related to the missing plane. The two ships were Chinese maritime patrol ship Haixun 1 and Australian Navy ship HMAS Success.

In the new search zone, Australia's former defence force chief Angus Houston will be leading a new unit to assist in the search. The joint international effort to search for the missing plane involves the armed forces of Australia, New Zealand, United States, China, Japan, Malaysia and South Korea.

According to Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Mr Houston, who has served as Australian Defence Force Chief from 2005 to 2011, will lead the Perth-based Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) to coordinate with Australia in the ongoing search.

The search area for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 has been moved to about 1,100 kilometres in the north-east of Indian Ocean. Authorities said the Boeing 777 aircraft may have travelled faster than previously thought. The new theory gives rise to the idea that the plane's tanks may have run out of fuel sooner than what investigators had first assumed.

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(Photo: REUTERS/Samsul Said / )
A woman writes a message on a board dedicated to passengers onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 and their family members, in Petaling Jaya March 19, 2014.
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