The difficulty in identifying debris from the missing Malaysia Airlines flight was underlined on Wednesday as aircraft and vessels continued searching the remote waters of the southern Indian Ocean amid new sightings of debris.
Malaysia said on Wednesday as many as 122 potential objects had been identified in new satellite images provided by France, which followed earlier images provided by Australia and China.
So far, none of those leads has been tracked down by ships from a number of countries who have been searching waters around 2,500 km west of Australia, where satellite signals last traced the missing Boeing 777 which disappeared early on March 8.
“We have now had four separate satellite leads, from Australia, China and France, showing possible debris,” Malaysian Transport and Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said, adding that it was “imperative that we link the debris to MH 370”.
Malaysia’s announcement on Monday confirming, based on satellite data, that MH 370 ended its flight in the remote southern Indian Ocean has added to the urgency in searching for the aircraft.
This week, relatives of the 239 people on board expressed anger at what they described as the lack of clear evidence about the fate of their loved ones. On Tuesday, family members of some of the 154 Chinese nationals on board protested in front of the Malaysian Embassy in Beijing, calling for answers and for more transparency.
China’s President Xi Jinping dispatched Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui to Kuala Lumpur to act as a special envoy.
Mr. Zhang on Wednesday held talks with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, the Foreign Ministry here said.
Amid anger from families, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang called on Malaysia to “strictly comply with international conventions, continue to coordinate the international search, and absorb Chinese experts to join the investigation”.
The airline has come under criticism from families for failing to release timely information, who released a statement accusing the airlines and authorities of “deliberately delaying publicising real information”.