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Objects spotted, but still no sign of flight MH370

Search for MH370

PERTH, Australia (AP) - A Chinese military plane scanning part of a search zone the size of Poland for signs of debris from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 spotted several objects floating in the sea on Saturday, including two bearing colors of the missing jet.

But it was not immediately clear whether the objects were related to the 3-week-old investigation, and the second day of searching in the area ended with no evidence found of the jet, officials said.

The Chinese Ilyushin IL-76 spotted three floating objects, China's official Xinhua News Agency said, a day after several planes and ships combing the newly targeted area closer to Australia saw several other objects.

Ships from China and Australia scooped up items described only as "objects from the ocean," but none were "confirmed to be related" to Flight 370, said a statement from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, which is overseeing the search.

Relatives and friends of the passengers said they were tortured by the uncertainty over the fate of their loved ones, as they wait for hard evidence that the plane crashed.

"This is the trauma of maybe he's dead, maybe he's not. Maybe he's still alive and we need to find him. Maybe he died within the first hour of the flight, and we don't know," Sarah Bajc, the American girlfriend of U.S. passenger Philip Wood, said in Beijing.

"I mean, there's absolutely no way for me to reconcile that in my heart," she said.

The three objects spotted by the Chinese plane Saturday were white, red and orange in color, the Xinhua report said. The missing Boeing 777's exterior was red, white, blue and gray.

An Australian PC3 Orion search plane also sighted objects in a different part of the search area, but the maritime safety authority did not describe those objects in greater detail.

An image captured a day earlier by a New Zealand plane showed a white rectangular object floating in the sea, but it was not clear whether it was related to the missing jet or was just sea trash.

Flight 370 disappeared March 8 while bound from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, and investigators have been puzzled over what happened aboard the plane, with speculation ranging from equipment failure and a botched hijacking to terrorism or an act by one of the pilots.

The latter was fueled by reports that the pilot's home flight simulator had files deleted from it, but Malaysian Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said checks, including one by the FBI, had turned up no new information.

"What I know is that there is nothing sinister from the simulators, but of course that will have to be confirmed by the chief of police," he said.

Newly analyzed satellite data shifted the search zone on Friday, raising expectations that searchers may be closer to getting physical evidence that the plane crashed in the Indian Ocean with 239 people aboard.

That would also help narrow the hunt for the wreckage and the plane's black boxes, which could contain clues to what caused the plane to be so far off-course.

The U.S. Navy has already sent equipment that can detect pings from the back boxes, and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott told reporters in Sydney that the equipment would be put on an Australian naval ship soon.

"It will be taken to the most prospective search area and if there is good reason to deploy it, it will be deployed," he said, without giving a time frame. Other officials have said it could take days for the ship - the Ocean Shield - to reach the search area.

The newly targeted zone is nearly 1,130 kilometers (700 miles) northeast of sites the searchers have crisscrossed for the past week. The redeployment came after analysts determined that the Boeing 777 may have been traveling faster than earlier estimates and would therefore have run out of fuel sooner.

The new search area is closer to Perth than the previous one, with a flying time of 2 1/2 hours each way, allowing for five hours of search time, according to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.

AMSA said five P-3 Orions - three from Australia and one each from Japan and New Zealand - plus a Japanese coast guard jet, the Chinese Ilyushin IL-76, and one civilian jet acting as a communications relay took part Saturday.

"The weather in the area was reasonably good - most of the area we were able to see four or five kilometers (two or three miles) or more," Royal Australian Air Force Flight Lt. Russell Adams said. "The sea state was up, however, which meant there were quite a few whitecaps in the area so the crew would have had a bit of difficulty discerning between objects in the water and the whitecaps, so it made it hard for the guys today."

Some family members in Beijing said they want to fly to Kuala Lumpur to seek more answers from the government, but an airline representative said it may have to wait a day because of a lack of hotel space this weekend because of the Formula One Malaysian Grand Prix race on Sunday.

Steve Wang, a representative of some of the Chinese families in Beijing, said about 50 relatives wanted to go to Malaysia because they were not happy with the responses given by Malaysian government representatives in China.

"Because they sent a so-called high-level group to meet us, but they have not been able to answer all our questions," he said. "It's either they are not in charge of a certain aspect of work or that it's still being investigated, or it's not convenient for them to comment."

Malaysia Airlines' commercial director, Hugh Dunleavy, said Saturday in Beijing that the airline was trying to facilitate the relatives' travel to Kuala Lumpur, but that plans had not been confirmed because of the difficulties in booking hotels this weekend.

If investigators can determine that the plane went down in the newly targeted zone - which spans about 319,000 square kilometers (123,000 square miles) - recovery of its flight data and cockpit voice recorders could be complicated.

Much of the sea floor in the area is about 2,000 meters (6,600 feet) below the surface, but depths may reach a maximum of about 6,000 meters (19,700 feet) at its easternmost edge.

The hunt for the plane focused first on the Gulf of Thailand, along the plane's planned path. But when radar data showed it had veered sharply west, the search moved to the Andaman Sea, off the western coast of Malaysia, before pivoting to the southern Indian Ocean, southwest of Australia.

___

Wong reported from Kuala Lumpur. Associated Press writers Scott McDonald and Eileen Ng in Kuala Lumpur; Kristen Gelineau in Sydney; Rod McGuirk in Canberra, Australia; Nick Perry in Wellington, New Zealand; and Aritz Parra and Didi Tang in Beijing contributed to this report.

Join the discussion

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pmbalele March 29 2014 at 3:33 PM

The pilot has goggles. How can he see and determine if the objects are of flight MH370? I think we are being duped. These pilots are getting over-time for things that don’t exist.

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Missy March 29 2014 at 2:38 PM

How difficult is it to get ships to the area where the wreckage is? If planes can see the items, why can't ships get to them, recover the items and process them to see if they're from the missing plane...? I just can't understand what's taking so long when they know the world is waiting for answers....

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JOEL AND JOANN March 29 2014 at 2:32 PM

What a joke...Keep saying we found floating pieces. But nothing to show for it. We can put a man on the moon and communicate and track them zillions of miles away. But we are unable to find concrete anything to put these poor families at ease. Heartbreaking. My heart goes out to all these lost souls and their families.

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wizardsking March 29 2014 at 8:38 PM

MEDIA GRADING:
I give CNN an F, because they are trying to use this as a Viewer Rating Money Making Machine.
I give AOL an A+ they have reported nothing but Factual information.
I give the comments by persons posting here an A+ they have given good therories, opinions, insight, and sympothy.
We are all speculating, however, I think given the lack of anything conclussive, it has been overall a job well done.

Flag Reply +7 rate up
1 reply
la231 wizardsking March 29 2014 at 8:52 PM

CNN, can't watch them any longer for more than a check in now for any new info. They keep showing the "objects" that are supposedly not relative to the plane. I'm far from an expertise on this but today got to me when they went over and over no gloves being used w/the "objects". Can't see how gloves would matter for example with the paper they picked up when everything is in the water and evidence would be washed away? Probably would matter only if they picked up a box that maybe had to be taken apart.

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2 replies
wizardsking la231 March 29 2014 at 9:04 PM

CNN IS A MEDIA ORGINIZATION, AND BY THAT DEFINITION, HAS NO BUSINESS WHATSOVER BEING INVOLVED IN THE SEARCH OF A MISSING AIRPLANE: THAT IS SOMETHING LEFT TO THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN TRAINED IN THE FIELD OF SEARCH AND RESCUE, NOT RATINGS.
The word BOYCOTT COMES INTO MIND.

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musomesa la231 March 29 2014 at 11:45 PM

The anchors do not know elementary science. Universities don't insist that Journalism majors learn any science or mathematics. They do not need to be experts but they do need to know enough so that an expert can explain to them the key concepts in play. They in turn would then explain it in layman's terms to the rest of the audience. However, the anchors are uttering some of the most inane things. Some are doing better than others but some are dreadful.

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Sharonlynn March 29 2014 at 2:14 PM

This plane was chosen for it's size and it's capability of handling a heavy load.

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1 reply
xpphil12 Sharonlynn March 29 2014 at 2:48 PM

Flying is still a lot safer than having someone shoot an apple off your head with a crossbow.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
Bob March 29 2014 at 7:53 PM

Check some neighboriung Countries,check their airports and military bases, landing strips and hangers!!!!

Flag Reply +3 rate up
hcwhy March 30 2014 at 4:20 AM

How come no ones looked at the obvious....Somalia

Flag Reply +1 rate up
siegbertotto March 29 2014 at 3:57 PM

Well, if one looks at the latest flight pattern you
see a direction closer to Perth!?

Flag Reply +1 rate up
MNETEL March 29 2014 at 9:08 PM

This is just a bad as 911, No idea in sight !!!

Flag Reply +1 rate up
1 reply
xanadutu MNETEL March 29 2014 at 10:09 PM

At least 'georgie junior' can't start TWO MORE WARS!!!

Flag Reply +1 rate up
clrkhllktty696 March 29 2014 at 2:04 PM

A 777 needs at least 7,500ft to take off! Mashhad has 2 runways and they both will work! 12,503 and 12,877ft long! Iran is crazy enough to do that with a plane!

Flag Reply +4 rate up
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