New satellite images taken three days ago have revealed 122 potential pieces of debris from the missing Malaysian Airline flight MH370, Malaysia’s Transport Minister says.
Hishammuddin Hussein revealed the latest – and largest – find of objects that may have come from the plane at a daily press briefing in Kuala Lumpur.
The news comes after satellite images from China, Australia and France showed items floating in the southern Indian Ocean, where the plane is believed to have crashed, leaving no survivors.
“Yesterday, on the 25th of March, the Malaysian Remote Sensing Agency, MRSA, received new satellite images from Airbus Defence and Space, which is based in France, and these images were taken on the 23rd of March,” he said on Wednesday evening.
“MRSA analysed the images and in one area of the ocean, measuring some 400 square kilometres, were able to identify 122 potential objects.
“Some objects were one metre in length, other objects were as much as 23 metres in length. Some of the objects appeared to be bright, possibly indicating solid material.”
— Nine News Australia (@9NewsAUS) March 26, 2014
The minister said the objects were found about 2557 kilometres from Perth, Western Australia, from where search planes are flying.
“MRSA immediately forwarded the information to the Australian rescue coordination centre yesterday,” he said.
“Our determination to find MH370 remains steadfast.
“As we have said all along, we will never give up trying to find the plane in order to bring closure to the families and explain what happened.”
A dozen planes from six nations travelled to the search area, divided equally into east and west zones, on Wednesday.
Two ships also joined the operation, HMAS Success and Chinese polar supply ship Xue Long.
A Japanese Gulfstream jet also flew to Perth to become involved in the search.
Malaysia Airlines is now taking the lead in communicating with the families of the passengers and crew.0
Multi-million dollar lawsuits considered
As the search continued, US law firm Ribbeck Law Chartered International said it was getting the ball rolling on potentially “multi-million dollar” lawsuits against Malaysia Airlines and Boeing.
“We are going to be filing the lawsuits for millions of dollars per each passenger based on prior cases that we have done involving crashes like this one,” the firm’s head of aviation litigation, Monica Kelly, told reporters in Kuala Lumpur.
A separate statement by the firm, which filed an initial court petition in the US state of Illinois on Tuesday, said the two companies “are responsible for the disaster of Flight MH370”.
The airline declined detailed comment.
MH370 relatives have endured more than a fortnight of agonising uncertainty.
Two-thirds of the passengers were from China and relatives there have criticised Malaysia in acid terms, accusing the government and airline of a cover-up and botching the response.
Scores of relatives protested outside Malaysia’s embassy in Beijing on Tuesday.
“I still believe in direct evidence like something from the plane, or something like that. If they got something then maybe I will accept the result,” said Steve Wang, whose 57-year-old mother was on board.
Beijing kept up the pressure, with Premier Li Keqiang urging Malaysia on Wednesday to involve “more Chinese experts” in its investigation, according to a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman.