Malaysia said on Sunday French satellites had captured new images of debris in the southern Indian Ocean, adding further weight to recent leads suggesting that the missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 had crashed into waters around 2,500 km west of Australia.
The French images had captured a 22 metre-long and 13-metre wide floating object, Malaysian officials announced on Sunday.
Chinese and Australian satellites have also picked up images of debris in the vicinity, officials said, with the region in question lying deep in the southern Indian Ocean, rarely traversed by ships.
Four days of searches by aircraft from Australia, New Zealand and the U.S. have, as yet, failed to locate the debris spotted in the images, with efforts hampered by adverse weather conditions.
Malaysian officials said two modern reconnaissance aircraft from India — a P8-I Poseidon and a C-130 Hercules — left Subang airport on Sunday to join search operations, along with two P3 Orions from Japan.
China said two Ilyushin-76 planes from its air force would also begin operations in the area on Monday.
The area corresponds with the southern extremity of a north-south corridor stretching from Central Asia to the Indian Ocean along which satellites had detected the last signal from the missing aircraft, which disappeared early on March 8 an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur. Malaysian officials had said the Beijing-bound plane had been diverted by “deliberate action.”
The officials said they were still searching in the northern parts of the corridor on land, in areas extending from Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan to western China and Myanmar.