Updated — March 27, 5:30 a.m. ET:
A Thai satellite has spotted 300 objects floating in the southern Indian Ocean near the search area for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, the country’s space agency said Thursday.
The objects range in size from 6 feet to 49 feet and are scattered in an area 1,680 miles southwest of Perth, Australia. The images were snapped by Thailand’s only earth observation satellite on March 24 in a remote part of the Indian Ocean 125 miles from where a French satellite on Sunday spotted 122 objects.
Anond Snidvongs, director of Thailand’s space technology development agency, said the images took two days to process and were relayed to Malaysian authorities Wednesday.
“But we cannot — dare not — confirm they are debris from the plane,” Snidvongs told AFP.
The search for the missing airliner was halted by severe weather Thursday after planes and ships searching for the Malaysia Airlines plane failed to find any sign of debris.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority said all 11 planes that were taking part in the massive search in the southern Indian Ocean were returning to Perth, but five ships would continue the hunt.
“The forecast in the area was calling for severe icing, severe turbulence and near-zero visibility,” Lt. Commander Adam Schantz, the officer in charge of the U.S. Navy Poseidon P-8 aircraft, told Reuters.
The Malaysia Airlines plane is believed to have flown thousands of miles off course on March 8 and crashed, killing all 239 people onboard.
Updated — March 26, 6:25 a.m. ET:
New satellite images taken on Sunday show 122 “potential objects” floating in the southern Indian Ocean near the search area for missing Flight MH370, Malaysian authorities announced Wednesday.
The new satellite images from France appear to show bright, possibly solid objects ranging in size from 3 feet to 75 feet located about 1,500 miles off Perth, Australia.
“This is another new lead that will help direct the search operation,” Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Bin Hussein said at a news briefing in Kuala Lumpur.
The latest sighting, together with previous satellite images from Australia, China and France, is “the most credible lead that we have,” he said.
Twelve aircraft will search for the objects in two sectors, including the U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon, along with five ships.
An Australian plane spotted three objects Wednesday which could be linked to the missing Malaysia flight.
Updated — March 25, 7:45 p.m. ET:
The search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 resumed Wednesday in a remote area of the southern Indian Ocean after officials said the plane plunged into the water 17 days ago.
No wreckage has been recovered from the believed crash site 1,550 miles southwest of Perth, Australia, where planes and ships have scoured for days for any sign of the plane. A total of six countries are now assisting in the search and recovery operation: Australia, New Zealand, the U.S., Japan, China, and South Korea.
A total of seven military and five civil aircraft will be involved in Wednesday’s search activities, the Australia Maritime Safety Authority said. The HMAS Success and China’s polar supply ship Xue Long are also in the search area.
Meanwhile, a newly revealed final “partial ping” received eight minutes after the last complete transmission between the missing plane and a satellite may provide a new clue to what happened to the airliner on March 8 while carrying 239 people.
According to a Wall Street Journal report, a final partial transmission from the missing Boeing 777 “originates with the aircraft for reasons not understood,” Chris McLaughlin, senior vice president of Inmarsat, said.
The British satellite firm is investigating the partial ping as “a failed login” to its network or “potential attempt by the system [aboard the aircraft] to reset itself,” McLaughlin was quoted as saying. “We’re not looking at this [partial ping] as someone trying to turn on the system and communicate,” he said.
Updated — March 25, 11:15 a.m. ET:
A multinational force searching the southern Indian Ocean for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight has been suspended until conditions improve.
On Monday, a Chinese crew reported seeing white objects floating in the water more than 1,500 miles off the southwest coast of Australia. Later that day an Australian crew spotted other debris.
It is not confirmed that these objects are related to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, but it is the first indication of any sign of the plane that went missing on March 8 with 239 passengers aboard.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced Monday new satellite data indicates that Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 crashed in the southern Indian Ocean.
Families of the missing passengers were informed that no one on board the plane survived.
A multinational force is searching the vast area in the southern Indian Ocean along the plane’s possible route.
The southern Indian Ocean’s sea floor goes up to 23,000 feet deep, making the mission even more challenging.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority, which is coordinating the search, said the search was suspended on Tuesday morning due to adverse weather conditions.
Heavy rain and rough seas forced searchers to hold off on their efforts until conditions improve.