Aided by a possible new lead that could point to the location of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, search teams continued to scour the southern Indian Ocean by air and sea on Sunday. The latest evidence comes from a third set of images, this time from French satellites, showing objects that could belong to the missing Boeing 777 floating in a remote area of the ocean 1,550 miles southwest of Perth, Australia.
The new information was given to Malaysia’s government and forwarded to investigators in Australia over the weekend. The satellite data showed “potential objects in the vicinity of the southern corridor” of the Indian Ocean, the same area where Australia and China satellite images previously showed what looked like several scraps of material in the water, one of which appeared to be about 72 feet long and another that was roughly 40 feet long.
According to CNN, eight aircraft and one ship conducted Sunday’s search but, as has been the case with almost every lead search teams have followed, nothing new turned up. Search-team members grew frustrated when their efforts were upset by cloud cover, Royal Australian Air Force flight Lt. Russell Adams told reporters. Still, the satellite info could be an important development in locating the missing airplane.
"We might do 10 sorties and find nothing, but on that 11th flight when you find something and you know that you're actually contributing to some answers for somebody,” "CBS This Morning" contributor Michio Kaku, a physics professor at the City University of New York, said earlier this week.
Because the area teams are searching is so far from land, the investigation has to be spread out over multiple days to allow aircraft to return to base and refuel. Sunday’s search was divided into two areas that cover 23,000 square miles.
"Our plan is to continue seeking -- to make sightings from the visual search, looking for the objects identified in the satellite imagery," John Young, with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, said today, according to ABC News.
It’s been over two weeks since Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 carrying 239 people, the majority of whom were Chinese, vanished after leaving Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, en route to Beijing. Several nations have joined the search effort that covers 2.97 million square miles, roughly the size of the continental U.S. While searchers have some idea of where the plane may have gone off course based on a small set of radar data, they’re working with relatively few clues, making the flight’s sudden disappearance one of the greatest aviation mysteries in history.
Still, officials at the helm of the search for the missing plane say they’re not giving up just yet.
"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," Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said at a press conference.
But relatives of those who were onboard flight 370 aren’t so enthusiastic and are growing increasingly incensed at the lack of answers they’re getting from the Chinese and Malaysian governments. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that police were forced to intervene on Saturday after relatives, many of whom have been camping out at a hotel conference room in Beijing, confronted a Malaysian official during a morning briefing.
"The Malaysian government is deceiving us," one relative yelled. "They don't dare to face us. The Malaysian government are the biggest murderers."
Investigators have several theories about what could have happened to Flight 370, including a hijack or even pilot suicide. But until they can locate the aircraft, they won’t know for sure.