A wooden cargo pallet is the latest hint of a breakthrough in the long-running search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
Speaking today, Australian Maritime Safety Authority Rescue Coordination Centre chief Mike Barton described the Saturday afternoon sighting also included several nondescript items including what appeared to be strapping belts.
“We tried to re-find that (on Saturday) with one of the New Zealand aircraft and unfortunately that’s the nature of (the search).
“You only have to be off by a few hundred metres in a fast-travelling aircraft…
“We’ve gone back to that area (on Sunday) to try and re-find it, but (we are) also going on with a methodical search of the rest of the area looking for these objects showing up in the satellite imagery to try and give us some clues.”
Mr Barton said they confirmed with airlines that such pallets were indeed a feature of air cargo, albeit of sea cargo also.
“The use of wooden pallets is quite common in the industry,” he said.
He said the Chinese satellite images were consistent with those of images identified late last week, however locating the objects had proven difficult.
The biggest challenge hinged around its remoteness, he said.
“We have eight aircraft searching (on Sunday), four civil jets and four military aircraft,” Mr Barton said, with the civil aircraft crewed with emergency service volunteers, some from WA and some from Victoria, who were trained in air observer techniques.
Mr Barton said they were continuing to monitor water movements with marker buoys and to seek expert opinions from the CSIRO, the United States Coast Guard and others.