Wednesday, Malaysia’s defense minister announced that Europe’s main commercial satellite company, Airbus Defense and Space, had forwarded images depicting more than 122 objects floating in Indian Ocean near the suspected area Malaysian Flight 370 went down.
Although the debris could be trash, and unrelated to the aircraft, Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said, “this is still the most credible lead that we have.”
According to calculations, the pieces of debris are up to 75 feet in length, and are visible through gaps in clouds over an area of 154 square miles, he said. Some of the objects are bright, he noted without elaboration. However, they could be aircraft related because metal objects might be reflective.
Hishammuddin said he wasn’t sure if Australian authorities coordinating the search for the plane Wednesday had been able to follow up on the new satellite images yet.
The search did resume on Wednesday after a weather delay, but even after 12 planes searched the area, nothing was found, Australian officials said.
‘Eventually something will come to light,’ Hishammuddin said.
A search plane did spot three objects, but none were obvious plane parts, the Australian Maritime Safety Agency said.
“The latest images appear to be the most significant discovery yet in the hunt for the missing plane,” which vanished March 8 with 239 people aboard, said CNN aviation analyst Miles O’Brien.
“There’s a very good chance this could be the break we’ve been waiting for,” he said.
David Soucie, also an aviation analyst agreed, adding that he was ‘intrigued’ by the size of the 75-foot object.
“It has potential to be a wing that’s floating,” he said. “So I’m really encouraged by it, I really am.”
Officials have warned that objects spotted in the water may turn out to be debris from cargo ships, and not from the plane. Finding pieces of the plane, or anything from the aircraft, could still take a long time.
“There’s always a possibility we might not actually find something next week or the week after,” Mark Binskin, vice chief of the Australian Defense Force, told CNN’s Kate Bolduan on Tuesday. “I think eventually, something will come to light, but it’s going to take time.”
Seven military reconnaissance planes — from Australia, China, New Zealand, the United States, Japan and South Korea — and five civil aircraft are combing the vast search area, which covers 469,407 square nautical miles.
Five ships — one from Australia and four from China — also are in the search zone, Australian authorities said.
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