China is investigating new satellite images of debris in the southern Indian Ocean, potentially from missing flight MH370, Malaysian officials say.
Malaysian Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein told reporters Saturday that a Chinese satellite had spotted an object 22.5 meters by by 13 meters in an area were officials are hoping to find the missing Malaysia Airlines plane that disappeared two weeks ago with 239 passengers and crew on board.
However, he said there is still no confirmation that debris detected in the area is from the missing plane, and he had no further information. He said China would release further details later.
Hishammuddin said his biggest concern is that if the debris is not found and identified, the search will have to go back to the two corridors in a "huge and massive area."
Earlier Saturday, Australia dispatched search planes for a third consecutive day to search for any wreckage. However, the crews returned, saying they had found nothing.
Australian Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss told reporters the search will continue until officials determine that further efforts would be futile.
Hishammuddin asked the U.S. Defense Department Friday for underwater surveillance equipment to help with the search.
Hussein also said investigations of the plane\’s cargo manifest did "not show any link to anything that may have contribution to the plane\’s disappearance".
He also referred to the angry scenes as Malaysian officials briefed Chinese relatives in Beijing.
A Pentagon spokesman did not say what equipment the U.S. might provide, but that Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is considering the request and whether it would be helpful in looking for the aircraft.
The Malaysia Airlines jet disappeared two weeks ago during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. There has been no firm evidence so far of what happened to the jet.
Investigators are not ruling out anything, including catastrophic mechanical failure, terrorism or pilot suicide. They say it is possible that someone with knowledge of planes diverted it far off course.
Twenty-six nations have been hunting for the plane across an area covering more than 7 million square kilometers, from Kazakhstan to the southern Indian Ocean.
China is one of 26 nations involved in the search for flight MH370. Most of those on board the plane were Chinese nationals.
Planes and vessels are already searching the southern Indian Ocean following earlier satellite images this week that detected possible debris 2,500 km (1,550 miles) south-west of Perth in Australia.
The Xinhua state news agency said the latest satellite image was of objects about 120km from that site.
China\’s CCTV carried the latest image – taken by the Gaofen-1 high-resolution optical Earth observation satellite of China\’s National Space Administration.
The search in the Indian Ocean is being led by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (Amsa).