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Search for debris trail ends for the day: MH370

March 20, 2014, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - An air search in the southern Indian Ocean for possible objects from the missing Malaysia Airlines plane described as the "best lead" so far ended for the day without success Thursday but will resume in the morning, Australian rescue officials said.


March 20, 2014
By The Associated Press

The four planes were checking to see if two large objects spotted in
satellite imagery bobbing in the remote ocean were debris from Fight 370
that disappeared March 8 with 239 people on board.

 

One of the
objects was 24 metres (almost 80 feet) in length and the other was 5
metres (15 feet). There could be other objects in the area, a four-hour
flight from Australia's southwestern coast, said John Young, manager of
the Australian Maritime Safety Authority's emergency response division.

 

"This
is a lead, it's probably the best lead we have right now," Young said.
He cautioned that the objects could be seaborne debris along a shipping
route where containers can fall off cargo vessels, although the larger
object is longer than a container.

 

A statement from the authority
said the four planes searched an area of 23,000 square kilometres (8,800
square miles) about 2,500 kilometres (1,550 miles) southwest of Perth
on Thursday without success. The area is about halfway between Australia
and desolate islands off the Antarctic.

 

"The search will continue
on Friday," it said. It earlier said the search had been hampered by
low visibility caused by clouds and rain.

 

News that possible plane
parts had been found marked a new phase in the emotional roller coaster
for distraught relatives of the passengers, who have criticized
Malaysia harshly for not releasing timely information about the plane.

 

While they still hope their loved ones will somehow be found, they
acknowledged that news of the debris could mean the plane plunged into
the ocean.

 

"If it turns out that it is truly MH370 then we will
accept that fate," said Selamat Bin Omar, the father of a Malaysian
passenger on the jet, which carried mostly Chinese and Malaysian
nationals.

 

But he cautioned that relatives still "do not yet know
for sure whether this is indeed MH370 or something else.

Therefore we
are still waiting for further notice from the Australian government."

 

Malaysian
Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein told a news conference Thursday
that "for all the families around the world, the one piece of
information that they want most is the information we just don't have —
the location of MH370."

 

Malaysian officials held a meeting
Thursday night with the relatives in a hotel near Kuala Lumpur, but
journalists were kept away.

 

After the meeting, groups of people left looking distraught.

 

Hamid
Amran, who had a child on Flight 370, said questions asked at the
meeting made it "apparent that Malaysia's military is incapable of
protecting its own airspace."

 

He said he "believes that my child and all the other passengers are still alive. I will not give up hope."

 

A man who would only give his surname, Lau, said he was there to support a Chinese couple who had lost their only son.