Day 13: Two possible objects found in southern Indian Ocean
(11.40 am Malaysia time, Thursday 20 March 2014]
The Guardian has reported that Australian prime minister Tony Abbott has told parliament of "two possible objects related to the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane have been found in the southern Indian Ocean."
“I would like to inform the house that new and credible information has come to light in relation to the search for Malaysia airlines flight MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean,” Abbott said. “The Australian Maritime Safety Authority has received information based on satellite imagery of objects possibly related to the search."
“Following specialist analysis of this satellite imagery, two possible objects related to the search have been identified, " he said. “I can inform the house that a Royal Australian Air Force Orion has been diverted to attempt to locate the objects. This Orion is expected to arrive in the area at about this time. Three more aircraft will follow this Orion. They are tasked for more intensive follow-up search."
Photo - Tony Abbott, Prime Minister, Australia
The Australian prime minister held a media conference together with the general manager of Australia’s maritime authority John Young: craft are now searching for the two objects.
PM Abbott's press statement: "The Australian Maritime Safety Authority is coordinating the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines aircraft, with assistance from the Australian Defence Force, the New Zealand Air Force and the United States Navy.
"AMSA’s Rescue Coordination Centre Australia has received satellite imagery of objects possibly related to the search for the missing aircraft, flight MH370. RCC Australia received an expert assessment of commercial satellite imagery on Thursday.
"The images were captured by satellite [apparently dated 16 March 2014[. They may not be related to the aircraft. The assessment of these images was provided by the Australian Geospatial-Intelligence Organisation as a possible indication of debris south of the search area that has been the focus of the search operation. The imagery is in the vicinity of the search area defined and searched in the past two days.
"Four aircraft have been reoriented to the area 2500 kilometres south-west of Perth as a result of this information.A Royal Australian Air Force Orion aircraft arrived in the area about 1.50pm.A further three aircraft have been tasked by RCC Australia to the area later today, including a Royal New Zealand Air Force Orion and United States Navy P8 Poseidon aircraft.
"The Poseidon aircraft is expected to arrive at 3pm. The second RAAF Orion is expected to depart RAAF Base Pearce at 6pm. The New Zealand Orion is due to depart at 8pm. A RAAF C-130 Hercules aircraft has been tasked by RCC Australia to drop datum marker buoys. These marker buoys assist RCC Australia by providing information about water movement to assist in drift modelling. They will provide an ongoing reference point if the task of relocating the objects becomes protracted.
"A merchant ship that responded to a shipping broadcast issued by RCC Australia on Monday is expected to arrive in the area about 6pm. Royal Australian Navy ship HMAS Success is en route to the area but is some days away from this area. She is well equipped to recover any objects located and proven to be from MH370. The focus for AMSA is to continue the search operation, with all available assets.The assets are searching for anything signs of the missing aircraft.
"Weather conditions are moderate in the Southern Indian Ocean where the search is taking place. Poor visibility has been reported.
"AMSA continues to hold grave concerns for the passengers and crew on board."