Planes spot objects after search for lost Malaysian jet shifts north
SYDNEY/KUALA LUMPUR, March 28 (Reuters) - An air and sea search for a missing Malaysian passenger jet moved 1,100 km (685 miles) north on Friday, after Australian authorities coordinating the operation in the remote Indian Ocean received new information from Malaysia that suggested the plane ran out of fuel earlier than thought.
The dramatic shift in the search area, moving it further than the distance between London and Berlin, followed analysis of radar and satellite data that showed the missing plane had travelled faster than had been previously calculated, and so would have burned through its fuel load quicker.
Australia said late on Friday that five aircraft had spotted "multiple objects of various colours" in the new search area.
"Photographic imagery of the objects was captured and will be assessed overnight," the Australian Maritime and Safety Authority (AMSA) said in a statement.
"The objects cannot be verified or discounted as being from MH370 until they are relocated and recovered by ships."
The latest twist underscores the perplexing and frustrating hunt for evidence in the near three-week search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, which vanished from civilian radar screens less than an hour into a Kuala Lumpur to Beijing flight.
Malaysia says the plane was likely diverted deliberately but investigators have turned up no apparent motive or other red flags among the 227 passengers or the 12 crew.
Malaysian officials said the new search area was the result of a painstaking analysis of Malaysian military radar data and satellite readings from British company Inmarsat carried out by U.S., Chinese, British and Malaysian investigators.
Engine performance analysis by the plane's manufacturer Boeing helped investigators determine how long the plane could have flown before it ran out of fuel and crashed into the ocean, they said.
"Information which had already been examined by the investigation was re-examined in light of new evidence drawn from the Inmarsat data analysis," Malaysia's acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein told a news conference.