Missing Plane Found?, The search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 is set to enter its third week after Australian authorities said planes sent to locate two pieces of possible wreckage in the remote southern Indian Ocean had failed to spot the objects.
As more countries prepared to join the international effort to locate the plane over the weekend, Australia’s deputy prime minister warned that the debris, which was spotted by a satellite five days ago, may have sunk or drifted for hundreds of miles.
The Boeing 777 disappeared off the coast of Malaysia almost two weeks ago with 239 people – 153 of them Chinese – on board, sparking a multinational search encompassing millions of square miles, with the focus now on a 23,000 sq kilometre zone in the Indian Ocean.
Friday’s sweep of the area, located about 1,500 miles south-west of Perth, involved three Australian P-3 Orion and a US navy P-8 Poseidon (both types of maritime surveillance aeroplane), a commercial jet and a Norwegian merchant ship.
In a statement released on Friday, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said the search had ended for the day without any sightings.
It added that the focus would remain on “locating any survivors on board the flight and searching for possible objects that could be connected to the missing aircraft or discounting them”. The satellite images gave no indication that the objects belong to the missing aircraft.
“Something that was floating on the sea that long ago may no longer be floating,” Australia’s deputy prime minister, Warren Truss, told reporters in Perth. “It may have slipped to the bottom. It’s also certain that any debris or other material would have moved a significant distance over that time, potentially hundreds of kilometres.”
The Malaysian defence minister, Hishammuddin Hussein, confirmed there had been no new developments, in another blow to anxious relatives who have been critical of Malaysian authorities for delays in releasing information.