300 more objects spotted, bad weather disrupts jet search (Roundup)

Bangkok/Tokyo/Canberra, March 27: Over 300 new objects were spotted by satellites of Thailand and Japan in or near the search area in the southern Indian Ocean where Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 is believed to have been “lost” but bad weather Thursday forced Australian authorities to suspend the search operation, it was announced.

Anond Snidvongs, executive director of Thailand’s Geo Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency, said the Thaichote satellite or Thailand Earth Observation Satellite recorded the objects in the Indian Ocean at 10 a.m March 24, a day after images from a French satellite detected 122 floating objects, Bangkok daily The Nation reported Thursday.

Anond also said that the site where the additional 300 objects were detected was about 2,700 km from Perth, Australia, and about 200 km from the international search area where the ill-fated flight is thought to have come down.

The objects ranged from two to 15 metres in size, he added.

Anond said the images have been handed to Thai caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatara and caretaker Foreign Minister Surapong Tohvichakchaikul would forward the findings to the Malaysian authorities for further investigation if these objects belong to flight MH370.

Thaichote is a remote sensing satellite for natural resources’ observation.

According to a report from Tokyo, a Japanese satellite also spotted about 10 suspicious objects possibly related to the missing airliner in the Indian Ocean.

Xinhua reported that Japan’s Kyodo News cited the Japanese government sources as saying Thursday that the square-shaped objects were spread about 2,500 km south-west of Perth, in the same area where other countries also found suspicious debris.

According to the report on Kyodo’s website, those images were taken from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday. After analysing them, the Japanese cabinet has supplied related information to Malaysia, it said.

It is believed that the biggest object is eight metres long, four meters wide. Some analysts from Japanese government thought there is a big possibility that the objects belong to the missing flight.

Meanwhile, search operations for the lost jetliner in the southern Indian Ocean were suspended Thursday due to bad weather.

“Today’s (Thursday’s) search operations have been suspended due to bad weather. All planes are returning to Perth and ships are leaving the search area,” the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) tweeted.

It later added: “Ships staying in search area and will attempt to continue searching, but all planes returning. Bad weather expected for next 24 hours.”

Earlier Thursday, the AMSA, which is coordinating the ongoing multinational search operation, said in an update that the search and recovery operations for flight MH370 resumed with six military aircraft, five civil aircraft and five ships.

Three objects were spotted Wednesday by two aircraft but these could not be relocated despite several passes. These were unrelated to the credible satellite imagery provided to AMSA.

Positions in the satellite information released by Malaysia Remote Sensing Agency Wednesday were within Wednesday’s search area.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 vanished mysteriously about an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur shortly after midnight March 8.

The Boeing 777-200ER was scheduled to land in Beijing the same day. The 226 passengers on board included five Indians, 154 Chinese and 38 Malaysians.

The plane lost contact along with its radar signal when it was flying over the air traffic control area of Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City.

According to report from Beijing, Chinese insurance companies Thursday said they have begun paying compensation to the families of passengers aboard the missing lost jet even though there is no concrete evidence yet about its fate.

The companies said that they started the process of paying compensation immediately after Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said Monday that the flight “ended” in the southern Indian Ocean, even though no concrete evidence or full information has supported this conclusion yet.

IANS