Malaysia: Satellite spots 122 objects possibly linked to missing jetliner

Malaysian officials said today that a French satellite has spotted 122 objects in the Indian Ocean that may be from missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370, the Associated Press reports.

Nineteen days into the search for Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, the latest satellite images are the first to suggest that a debris field from the plane -- rather than just a few objects -- may be floating in the southern Indian Ocean, though no wreckage has been confirmed.

Last week an Australian satellite and a Chinese satellite spotted objects in a remote part of the Indian Ocean southwest of Australia. The images from the French satellite also place the objects near that location.

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The images were taken Sunday and relayed by French-based Airbus Defence and Space, a division of Europe's Airbus Group; its businesses include the operation of satellites and satellite communications. The company said in a statement that it has mobilized five observation satellites, including two that can produce very high resolution images, to help locate the plane.

Though, it is unclear whether the objects are from the missing Boeing 777, officials call it “the most credible lead that we have.”

A massive international search effort has been underway since the jetliner lost contact on March 8, but nothing has been recovered yet. Today’s search team included 12 planes and five ships from the US, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand, according to the Associated Press.

The BBC reports:

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (Amsa), co-ordinating the search, said that all aircraft involved had left the area without finding objects from the plane.

The plane was carrying 12 crew members and 227 passengers from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing when it disappeared more than two weeks ago.