France has provided new satellite data showing possible debris from the missing Malaysia Airlines jet.
Searchers combing a remote part of the southern Indian Ocean, meanwhile, tried without success on Sunday to locate a pallet that could be a key clue in solving one of the world’s biggest aviation mysteries.
The new information given to Malaysia’s government and forwarded to searchers in Australia shows “potential objects” in the same part of the ocean where satellite images previously released by Australia and China showed objects that could be debris from the plane.
Flight 370 went missing over the Gulf of Thailand on March 8 with 239 people aboard en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, setting off a multinational search effort.
Details on the French data were not immediately released.
The statement from Malaysia called the information “new satellite images”, while a statement from France’s Foreign Ministry said “radar echoes taken by a satellite” had located floating debris but made no mention of imagery.
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But a Malaysian official involved in the search mission said the French data consisted of radar echoes captured on Friday and converted into fuzzy images that located objects about 930km north of the spots where the objects in the images released by Australia and China were located.
One of the objects located was estimated to be about the same size as an object captured on Tuesday by the Chinese satellite that appeared to be 22 metres by 13 metres, said the official, who declined to be identified because he isn’t authorised to speak to the media.
It was not possible to determine precise dimensions from the French data, the official said.
Information about the new data emerged as authorities co-ordinating the search, which is being conducted about 2500km southwest of Perth, sent planes and a ship to try to “re-find” a wooden pallet that appeared to be surrounded by straps of varying lengths and colours.
It was spotted Saturday by spotters in a search plane, but no images were captured of it and a military PC Orion military plane dispatched to locate the pallet could not find it.
Wooden pallets are commonly used in shipping, but can also be used in cargo containers carried on planes.
The southern Indian Ocean is thought to be a potential area to find the jet because Malaysian authorities have said pings sent by the Boeing 777-200 for several hours after it disappeared indicated that the plane ended up in one of two huge arcs: a northern corridor stretching from Malaysia to Central Asia, or a southern corridor that stretches toward Antarctica.
Malaysian authorities have not ruled out any possible explanation for what happened to the jet, but have said the evidence so far suggests it was deliberately turned back across Malaysia to the Strait of Malacca, with its communications systems disabled.
They are unsure what happened next.