Saturday, March 22, 2014

New images show object in Indian OceanBy Mitra Mobasherat, Mariano Castillo and Faith Karimi, CNN

China releases image of floating object

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Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (CNN) - China announced that it has satellite images of a large object floating in the search area for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane, but Australian-led search teams found no sign of it Saturday.

Another day of intense searches by air and sea concluded for the night with no new clues to give families answers about the fate of the passengers and crew.

The object the Chinese photographed is 22.5 meters long and 13 meters wide (74 feet by 43 feet), officials said.

China said the satellite images showing the "suspected floating object" were captured four days ago, on March 18.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority said the spot of the sighting was within Saturday's search area, but that the object was not found. Searchers will take the Chinese information into consideration as they design their search for Sunday, AMSA said.

The floating object was about 77 miles from where earlier satellite images spotted floating debris.

At least six search flights were involved Saturday, including two private jets.

Though the two civilian jets did not have radar, their role was crucial, authorities said.

"It is more likely that a pair of eyes are going to identify something floating in the ocean," Australian Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss said.

Indeed, during Saturday's search it was a civil aircraft that reported sighting some small objects floating with the naked eye, including a wooden pallet, AMSA said. These objects were within a radius of 5 kilometers (3 miles).

CNN's Mitra Mobasherat reported from Kuala Lumpur, and Mariano Castillo and Faith Karimi wrote the story in Atlanta. CNN's Elizabeth Joseph contributed to this report.

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