Overnight, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced that search missions for Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 had shifted their target area, looking instead at a possible crash site 680 miles northeast of the one previously examined. It also seems the change in tactic may have paid off:
BREAKING: New Zealand military plane has found objects in the Indian Ocean in new search area for missing plane.— The Associated Press (@AP) March 28, 2014
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority offered some more information on Twitter:
RNZAF Orion spotted objects in #MH370 search area, identity to be established. Soon to land @ RAAF Pearce. AMSA awaiting imagery. 1/2— AMSA News (@AMSA_News) March 28, 2014
Adding that a ship must locate the objects to confirm the sighting:
Sightings need confirmation by ship - not expected until tomorrow. #MH370 2/2— AMSA News (@AMSA_News) March 28, 2014
This, of course, means more waiting for answers.
According to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), the identity of the 11 objects spotted by the plane's crew is still "to be established." So far, none of the objects spotted via satellite — seen in the abandoned search zones — have been located or identified. AMSA Manager John Young said that searchers now believe those were just more false leads:
In regards to the old areas, we have not seen any debris and I would not wish to classify any of the satellite imagery as debris, nor would I want to classify any of the few visual sightings that we made as debris. That's just not justifiable from what we have seen.
However, Malaysia's Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein argued that it is possible that the objects spotted from the New Zealand plane are the same as those identified via satellite, saying "this new search area could still be consistent with the potential objects identified by various satellite images over the past week."
Young added that the change in course is not unusual in these types of missions, and that "I don't count the original work as a waste of time." He also said that the new spot is better for investigators:
The search area has moved out of the 'roaring 40s,' [latitude] which creates very adverse weather... I'm not sure that we'll get perfect weather out there, but it's likely to be better than we saw in the past.
As the search goes on, and distraught families await concrete evidence of MH370's fate. A press conference today that was meant to update relatives on the search, hundreds of frustrated family members staged a mass walk-out in protest leaving the authorities deliver their presentation to an empty room.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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