China has released satellite images of what could be parts of a missing Malaysia Airlines plane floating in the South China Sea.
Official Chinese media quote a government statement that says the satellite images were taken on Sunday — one day after the Boeing 777 disappeared. The images were not released until Wednesday.
They show three fairly large objects floating in the sea between Malaysia and the southern tip of Vietnam — along what was the jet\’s original flight path. It is difficult to tell what the objects are, and no one else involved in the investigation has confirmed what the images show.
Vietnam and Malaysia have sent planes to the area to investigate.
Vietnam\’s deputy transport minister said Vietnamese planes had already searched the area but would do so again.
Meanwhile, Malaysia\’s Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said aircraft had been dispatched to the area to investigate.
Agence France-Presse quoted US officials as saying that US spy satellites had detected no sign of an explosion in the area at the time. The system has detected such heat signatures in the past but none was discovered this time, the officials said.
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared early Saturday on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Two-hundred-39 people were on board.
The Chinese government statement conflicts with a report Tuesday that the Malaysian military has radar evidence that the jet flew hundreds of kilometer off course into the Malacca Strait.
Malaysian air traffic controllers did not receive any messages that the plane may have been in trouble and they say all communications were routine. Vietnamese controllers say they never heard from the pilots.
Earlier Wednesday, Malaysia again expanded the vast area where it is looking for the missing plane. Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said ships and aircraft from 12 countries are now searching more than 90,000 square kilometers of water.
Source: VOA and agencies