Friday, October 31, 2014

Still no plane debris found

PERTH, Australia—Planes and ships searching for debris suspected of being from the missing Malaysian jetliner failed to find any today before bad weather cut their hunt short, as Thailand said one of its satellites had spotted hundreds of objects in the area.
The Thai satellite spotted the objects floating in the southern Indian Ocean near an area where planes and ships have been hunting unsuccessfully for a week for any sign of debris from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which disappeared March 8 with 239 people aboard.

The images from the Thai satellite showed “300 objects of various sizes” in the ocean, about 2,700 km southwest of Perth, said Anond Snidvongs, director of Thailand’s space technology development agency.
He said the images—taken Monday by the Thaichote satellite—took two days to process and were relayed to Malaysian authorities yesterday.
The objects were about 200 km from the area where a French satellite on Sunday spotted 122 objects, and ranged in size from two metres to 16 metres long, Anond said.
The announcement came after the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said it had to pull back all 11 planes scheduled to take part in the search today because of heavy rain, winds, and low clouds.
Five ships continued the hunt.
All but three of the planes—a U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon, a Japanese P-3 Orion, and a Japanese Gulfstream jet—reached the search zone before the air search was suspended, AMSA spokesman Sam Cardwell said.
They were there “maybe two hours” and they did not find anything, Cardwell noted.
“They got a bit of time in, but it was not useful because there was no visibility,” he remarked.
In a message on its Twitter account, AMSA said the bad weather was expected to last 24 hours.
Planes have been flying out of Perth for a week—looking without any success for objects spotted in vague satellite images, including the French one.
Finding them would give physical confirmation that Flight 370, which was scheduled to fly from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing, had crashed.
That would allow searchers to narrow the hunt for the wreckage of the Boeing 777 and its black boxes, which could solve the mystery of why the jet was so far off-course.
Malaysian officials said earlier this week that satellite data confirmed the plane crashed into the southern Indian Ocean.
Today, Malaysia Airlines ran a full-page condolence advertisement with a black background in a major newspaper.
The 122 objects captured by the French satellite ranged in size from one metre to 23 metres long, but the search for them and the objects from the Thai satellite will have to wait until the weather in the search area improves—echoing the frustration of earlier sweeps that failed to zero in on three objects spotted by satellites.
Experts cautioned that the area’s frequent high seas and bad weather, and its distance from land, were complicating an already-trying search.

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