The Slatest

China Spots New Debris as Search for Malaysia Airlines Plane Enters Third Week

Malaysian acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein shows a note from the Chinese ambassador stating that they have received new satellite images during the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, at a press conference near Kuala Lumpur International Airport

Photo by MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP/Getty Images

China released a satellite image on Saturday that provided yet another hint that Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 did come down in the southern Indian Ocean. News of the latest sighting comes as the search for the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 entered its third week with no signs of the plane or of any of the 239 people on board. The debris spotted by Chinese satellite appears to be 72 feet by 43 feet, which, as Bloomberg explains, is almost the width of an Olympic-size swimming pool. The item appears to have been spotted around 75 miles from where an Australian satellite had reportedly spotted similarly sized debris two days earlier.

Although there was hope the debris could help provide some answers, the Washington Post notes that if it was from the plane, its size would suggest it came from a wing, but “even if empty fuel tanks inside the wing were filled with air, some doubted it could stay afloat for 10 days … especially in rough seas.”

China said it is sending ships to the area to investigate but Australian officials said that even before the satellite image was released the location had been searched on Saturday and nothing had been located. It’s likely that at this point the currents have carried the objects away, notes the Associated Press. The image was taken on Tuesday. China didn’t explain why it waited so long to release details of the image but earlier in the week Australia took a similar amount of time to release its images, saying they had to be analyzed by experts first. Airplanes and ships have been searching the area where Australia had reported spotting debris earlier this week but so far nothing has been found, Malaysian defence minister and acting transport minister Hishammuddin Hussein said during a news conference.

Meanwhile, Malaysian officials said the transcript the British newspaper Daily Telegraph published claiming to be of the communications between the Boeing 777 and ground control was not accurate. Although the official transcript won’t be released publicly yet officials insist it doesn’t show anything abnormal.

Xinhua / China’s State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense