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Satellite images show 122 potential debris items

MH370 French firm Airbus Defence and Space has provided new satellite images of potential debris from Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 in the Indian Ocean.
 
At the daily press briefing on the search for MH370, acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said an analysis had identified 122 potential objects in a 400 square kilometre area.
 
"Some objects were a metre in length; others were as much as 23 metres in length. Some of the objects appeared to be bright, possibly indicating solid materials.
 
"The objects were located approximately 2,557 kilometres from Perth," he said, adding the analysis was conducted by the Malaysian Remote Sensing Agency (MRSA).

The images were taken on March 23, and were sent to the Australian Rescue Coordination Centre in Perth yesterday immediately after MRSA’s analysis.

He described the images as an ‘incredible feat’ because the satellite involve had to peer through gaps in cloud cover to spot the ‘white dots’ that are suspected to be debris.

 
More importantly, the location of this area was near the location of potential debris spotted by Chinese and Australian satellites, said Hishammuddin.
 
However, he cautioned that the objects might not necessarily be from MH370.
 
"Nevertheless, this is another new lead that will help direct the search operation," he said.

He explained that since multiple satellites have spotted objects in the area, at the very least there is corroboration that there is some kind of object floating in that part of the ocean.

This makes it the most credible lead on the missing Boeing 777-200ER aircraft’s location to date.

“If it is confirmed to be MH370, at least we can then move on to the next phase of deep sea surveillance, search and... rescue, probably. Hoping against hope,” he said.

As for the search and rescue effort today, Hishammuddin said Australia has divided the search area into two sectors: East and West.

Six aircraft are being sent to each sector today, from Australia, China, New Zealand, USA, South Korea, and Japan.

The Australian naval vessel HMAS Success, which had been diverted south to avoid yesterday’s storms in the search area, has resumed searching the West Sector, while the Chinese icebreaker Xue Long was deployed to the west.