Missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370: Search efforts intensify as floating pallet spotted in Indian Ocean
Search efforts for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet have been redoubled after a search plane spotted a pallet and other floating objects in a remote area of the southern Indian Ocean.
Extra ships and planes have been scrambled to help identify the debris and determine whether it came from the Boeing-777 or a shipping container.
Although the search plane did not have a chance to closely examine the pallet when it was spotted yesterday, authorities are starting to feel upbeat.
Australian prime minister Tony Abbott told journalists: ‘Obviously we have now had a number of very credible leads and there is increasing hope – no more than hope, no more than hope – that we might be on the road to discovering what did happen to this ill-fated aircraft.’
The floating pallet was surrounded by several other objects including what appeared to be strapping belts of different colours, according to the aircraft from New Zealand that spotted it.
Malaysian authorities were unable to confirm whether flight MH370 was carrying any pallets and Mike Barton of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority was keen to emphasise his reservations.
‘We went to some of the expert airlines and the use of wooden pallets is quite common in the industry,’ he said.
‘It’s a possible lead, but we will need to be very certain that this is a pallet because pallets are used in the shipping industry as well.’
Meanwhile, the search for a 22m long piece of debris that was spotted by a Chinese satellitelast week continues in two search zones spreading across 59,000 square km (22,800 miles).
Because the search areas are a four-hour flight from land, most of the planes can search for about only two hours before they must fly back.