Planes and ships scoured the new search zone for the missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 on Saturday, hoping to recover and analyze any of the several objects spotted from the air.
A day after the search for the Malaysian jetliner shifted to a new area of the Indian Ocean, ships plucked objects from the sea to determine whether they were related to the missing jet. None were confirmed to be from the plane, leaving searchers with no sign of the jet three weeks after it disappeared.
Ships from China and Australia scooped up items described only as “objects from the ocean,” but none were “confirmed to be related” to Flight 370, said the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, which is overseeing the search.
NEW OBJECTS SPOTTED:
A Chinese plane flying over the search zone in the southern Indian Ocean 1,800 kilometers (1,118 miles) west of Perth, Australia, reported seeing three suspicious objects white, red and orange in color. On Friday, planes also spotted several objects, including two rectangular items that were blue and gray. Six ships are in the area trying to recover and inspect them, but without success.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority said it was not known how much flotsam, such as from fishing activities, is ordinarily floating in the ocean. “At least one distinctive fishing object has been identified,” it said.
Malaysia’s Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein told reporters near Kuala Lumpur after meeting several families of passengers on the plane that he’s hoping for some news soon.
NEW AREA STILL LARGE:
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the job of locating the debris was still difficult. “We should not underestimate the difficulty of this work — it is an extraordinarily remote location.”
The area spans about 123,000 square miles (319,000 square kilometers), roughly the size of Poland or New Mexico. In most places, depths range from about 6,560 feet (2,000 meters) to 13,120 feet (4,000 meters), although the much deeper Diamantina trench edges the search area.
RELATIVES HEADING TO MALAYSIA:
About 40-45 relatives of passengers on the missing plane were to fly from Beijing to Kuala Lumpur on Sunday to seek answers from Malaysia’s government as to what happened to their loved ones. Two-thirds of the 229 passengers aboard Flight 370 were Chinese, and their relatives have expressed deep frustration with Malaysian authorities since the plane went missing.
“We have demanded that we meet with the prime minister and the transportation minister,” said Wang Chunjiang, whose younger brother, lawyer Wang Chunyong, was on Flight 370. “We have questions that we would like to ask them in person.”