The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Nation & World

March 12, 2014

Report: Chinese site may show plane debris images

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Satellite images on a Chinese government website show suspected debris from the missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner floating off the southern tip of Vietnam, near the plane's original flight path, China's Xinhua News Agency reported Wednesday.

The revelation could provide searchers with a focus that has eluded them since the plane disappeared with 239 people aboard early Saturday.

The Xinhua report said the images from around 11 a.m. on Sunday appear to show "three suspected floating objects" of varying sizes, the largest about 24 meters (79 feet) by 22 meters (72 feet).

The report includes coordinates of a location in the sea off the southern tip of Vietnam and east of Malaysia. The images originally were posted on a national defense technology website.

No other governments have confirmed the Xinhua report, which did not say when Chinese officials became aware of the images and associated them with the missing plane.

With the passage of time since the satellite images were taken, it is far from certain that whatever they show would be in the same location now.

The search for the plane, which left Kuala Lumpur for Beijing before disappearing early Saturday, has encompassed 35,800 square miles of Southeast Asia and on Wednesday expanded toward India.

Two-thirds of the passengers on the flight were Chinese, and the Chinese government has put increasing pressure on Malaysian officials to solve the mystery of the plane's disappearance.

Also, Wednesday, it was revealed that the last message from the cockpit of the missing flight was routine. "All right, good night," was the signoff transmitted to air traffic controllers five days ago.

Then the Boeing 777 vanished as it cruised over the South China Sea toward Vietnam, and nothing has been seen or heard of the jetliner since.

Those final words were picked up by controllers and relayed in Beijing to anguished relatives of some of the people aboard Flight MH370.

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