Kuala Lumpur, Mar 22 (PTI) : China has reported the sighting of a large object in the southern Indian Ocean which could be related to the missing jetliner, Malaysia said on Saturday, as the desperate search for the plane entered its third week.
“The news that I just received is that the Chinese ambassador received satellite image of a floating object in the southern corridor and they will be sending ships to verify,” defence and transport minister Hishammuddin Hussein said.
“Beijing is expected to make an announcement in a few hours,” said Hishammuddin, who got the news while he was addressing his daily briefing.
China is sending two ships to the area to examine the floating object, which according to the satellite image is 22 metres long and 30 metres wide, he said, quoting Chinese government officials. His comments came as several Australian military jets resumed their search this morning to find any trace of two objects seen earlier in satellite imagery nearly 2,500 kilometres southwest of Perth.
At least six search flights were involved in the search operations, including two private jets. Two Australian planes returned without spotting anything.
Search teams involving 26 countries are still trying to locate Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which went missing an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur for Beijing on March 8 with 239 people on board, including five Indians and one Indian-Canadian.
The mystery of the missing plane continued to baffle aviation and security authorities who have so far not succeeded in tracking the aircraft despite deploying hi-tech radar and other gadgets.
Hishammuddin said India, Cambodia, and Kazakhstan have confirmed that their radar data had shown no sighting of the plane in their airspaces.
He also thanked all the coutures involved in the search for the Boeing 777-200 in the Indian Ocean, saying that vessels “are sailing through a cyclone” to join the operation.
He said the transcript of the conversation between the pilots and the Malaysian air traffic controllers was released on Friday.
“Unfortunately, there doesn't appear to be anything unusual in the exchanges. Some have suggested that there is something unusual in the pilot repeating his altitude,” he said.