Malaysia

Malaysia sends search aircraft to possible crash site

Malaysia is sending a search aircraft to check the possible crash site identified by Chinese satellite images, said a Malaysian air force official.

Chinese satellites searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 have "observed a suspected crash area at sea", a government agency has revealed.

The Chinese have released days-old images of potential wreckage in the South China Sea in what is possibly the first indication of a crash site five days after the Boeing 777 disappeared with 239 people onboard.

China's State Administration for Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence announced the discovery, including images of what it said were "three suspected floating objects and their sizes".

The images were captured about 11am on Sunday, a day after the plane went missing, but were only released yesterday.

The Chinese agency gave coordinates of 105.63 east longitude, 6.7 north latitude, which would put it in waters northeast of where it took off from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport and south of Vietnam, near where the South China Sea meets the Gulf of Thailand.

"It's where it's supposed to be," Peter Goelz, a former National Transportation Safety Board managing director, had told CNN's Jake Tapper, noting the "great scepticism" about reports the plane had turned around to go back over Malaysia.

The Malaysian air force official, who spoke anonymously, said this morning that its aircraft were heading to that area.

This isn't the first time authorities have announced sightings of objects or oil slicks that might be linked to the missing Malaysia Airlines aircraft.

However, none had proven to be from the plane.

Meanwhile, China's civil aviation chief told Reuters today that there was no proof that floating objects in the South China Sea seen by satellite images were connected to a missing Malaysia Airlines aircraft.

"Chinese satellites have found smoke and floating objects... At present we cannot confirm this is related to the missing aircraft," Li Jiaxiang was quoted as saying on the sidelines of China's annual meeting of parliament.

He added that there was also no evidence the Malaysian military was concealing information about the missing flight.

Vietnam has already searched the area where Chinese satellites showed objects that could be debris from a missing Malaysia Airlines jet but a plane has been sent to check the area again, Vietnamese military officials said.

"We are aware and we sent planes to cover that area over the past three days," Deputy Transport Minister Pham Quy Tieu told Reuters.

"Today a (military) plane will search the area again," he said.

Another military official was quoted as saying that  Vietnam was waiting to see photographs taken by a Chinese satellite on Sunday in waters northeast of Kuala Lumpur and south of Vietnam in order to identify the exact location for further inspection. – March 13, 2014.

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