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Latest information on search for Malaysian plane

by The Associated Press on March 20, 2014 12:04 PM

The search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is concentrating on two objects located by satellite and identified by analysts as possible debris. A summary of the latest information from Australian maritime authorities and others involved in the investigation:

THE OBJECTS

One is 24 meters (almost 80 feet) in length and the other is 5 meters (15 feet). Both have an indistinct, whitish appearance and are floating or just underneath the water surface. The objects could be unrelated to the plane, possibly debris from ships, though the larger object is longer than a container.

These are the first objects identified as possible plane debris since the search was focused on the southern Indian Ocean.

THE CONDITIONS

The location is about 2,500 kilometers (1,550 miles) southwest of Perth, Australia. The water is several thousand meters (yards) deep. The weather is often stormy and the seas rough. The remoteness of the search area means planes must fly long hours just to get there, so the time spent searching is limited.

Four search planes flew over the area Thursday, but weather hampered visibility. Another plane is dropping buoys so the currents can be monitored.

WHAT'S NEXT

A Norwegian merchant ship will use radar to search the area overnight, and its crew will use binoculars and their own eyesight to scan the waters Friday. Australia's HMAS Success and a second merchant ship are en route. The planes will return to search by air on Friday. India will have two planes involved in the search Friday.

Australia is seeking higher resolution images of the objects, perhaps distinct enough to identify any markings.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

IMAGE: This graphic made Wednesday, March 19, 2014 and released by Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) Thursday, March 20, 2014, shows an area in the southern Indian Ocean that the AMSA is concentrating its search for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 on. AMSA response division manager John Young has identified their search will cover a massive 600,000 square kilometers (232,000 square miles) area, saying it will take weeks to search thoroughly. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot said Thursday that two objects possibly related to the missing Malaysia Airlines flight have been spotted on satellite imagery in the Indian Ocean and an air force aircraft was diverted to the area to try to locate them. (AP Photo/Australian Maritime Safety Authority)

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