A CHINESE satellite looking into the missing flight MH370 has “observed a suspected crash area at sea”, in what experts say is the first solid lead in the search for the missing plane.
Three satellite images, published by China’s State Administration for Science, Technology and Industry, appear to show wreckage fragments in the sea on Sunday – one day after the jet carrying 239 disappeared.
The satellite spotted three blips of varying sizes, the largest of which is 24m by 22m.
According to CNN, the Chinese agency gave coordinates of 105.63 east longitude, 6.7 north latitude, which would put it in waters northeast of where it took off in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and south of Vietnam and close to where the plane lost contact.
A former US aviation safety official has said the images represent the first solid lead consistent with the Malaysia Airlines plane’s flight path.
Peter Goelz, former managing director of the US federal National Transportation Safety Board, told CNN: “These (images) are the first solid piece of evidence we have that are on the correct flight path.”
The US Navy reportedly has a destroyer already in the area and has deployed another vessel to investigate.
It has not been confirmed whether the blips are the wreckage of the missing flight.
The Chinese agency provided no explanation why the images were only released Wednesday.
US authorities cautioned it may not be the wreckage as ships have been known to dump junk at sea in the past.
The Boeing 777-200 took off from Kuala Lumpur bound for Beijing at 12:41am local time on Saturday. The plane vanished off the radar around 50 minutes later at 1:30am.
No distress signal was sent.
An international air and sea search involving 12 countries has entered its sixth straight day, with authorities combing a search zone of 27,000 square nautical miles (93,000 square kms).
The search effort has focused on two areas, the Malacca Strait and the South China Sea.
More to come.
Source: BBC News