A Chinese satellite searching for missing Malaysian Airlines flight 370 has found what it is calling a ‘suspected crash area at sea’ – releasing images of what they are describing as three ‘large, floating, objects’ in the South China Sea.
The potentially crucial development comes on the fifth day of the search for the Boeing 777 – which seemingly vanished without trace early on Saturday morning.
China’s State Administration for Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense announced the discovery of the images in the are where rescuers first started looking on Saturday – along with other images of what appear to show an oil slick tracing the surrounding area.
Location? This image released by Chinese authorities potentially shows a large crash site of what could be Malaysian Airlines Flight 370.
Debris: The crucial discovery of the debris was made on March 9 – the day after Malaysian Airlines flight 370 went missing – but were only released on Wednesday.
The images were captured on March 9 – the day after the plane went missing, but were somehow not released until Wednesday.
CNN are reporting the Chinese satellite images reveal three pieces of debris, the biggest 78-feet by 72-feet.
The location of the suspected debris is half way between Malaysia and Vietnam close to the expected flight path of the aircraft which mysteriously disappeared at 1.30 am on Saturday morning.
However, despite the potentially pivotal release of the images, this is not the first time that authorities have announced they were examining an oil slick or floating objects that could be linked to the missing airliner.
Floating: These images from the Chinese satellite dated March 9 appear to show what could be fuel resting on the surface of the South China Sea and were taken in the zone where the three pieces of large debris were recorded.
The Chinese science agency provided coordinates of 105.63 east longitude, 6.7 north latitude, which would put the unidentified debris in waters just northeast of where it took off in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
One former US aviation official said that the images represent the first and only solid lead that matches the Boeing 777’s original flight path.
‘These images are the first solid piece of evidence we have that they were on the correct flight path,’ said Peter Goelz, the former managing director of the US federal National Transportation Safety Board to CNN.
The US Navy will be deploying two navy vessels to the area, Commander William Marks told the cable news network.
The highlighted area is where the Chinese satellite identified the three pieces of debris floating in the waters of the South China Sea.