Weather hinders search for possible plane debris in Indian Ocean - WFXG FOX 54 - News Now

Weather hinders search for possible plane debris in Indian Ocean

The possible debris is located at a site 1,500 miles off the coast of western Australia. (Source: Australian Maritime Safety Authority/Facebook) The possible debris is located at a site 1,500 miles off the coast of western Australia. (Source: Australian Maritime Safety Authority/Facebook)
The second object is much smaller. The second object is much smaller.

(RNN) – So far Thursday, aircraft have been unable to determine if debris spotted in an area well off the coast of Perth, Australia, via satellite were tied to missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, according to officials.

The Royal Australian Air Force's P-3 crew reported that clouds and rain hindered their visibility, the Australia Maritime Safety Authority reported via Twitter.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott told the Australian parliament earlier Thursday in Canberra that "new and credible information has come to light in relation to the search" for the missing plane, which disappeared from radar almost two weeks ago. 

The objects, spotted by satellite Sunday, are considered the best lead so far in the search for the plane. One object is about 78 feet long.

The satellite images were evaluated by experts at the Australian GeoSpacial-Intelligence Organisation, Australian authorities said.

However, Abbott cautioned "the task of locating these objects may be extremely difficult, and it may turn out they are not related to the search for Flight 370."

Two Royal Australian Air Force P-3 Orions and a New Zealand Orion were diverted to the debris site and will be followed by other aircraft, authorities said. The U.S. Navy plane Poseidon was also being deployed to aid in the search. And an Australian C-130 was also sent to the area to drop marker buoys.

Ships were also diverted to the area, but they are expected to take days to reach the site, Malaysian Acting Minister of Transportation Hishammuddin Bin Hussein said in a news conference Thursday.

The possible objects were located around 2,500 kilometers southwest of Perth, according to John Young with the Australia Maritime Safety Authority. That's a little more than 1,500 miles.  

"This is a lead. It is probably the best lead we have right now, but we need to get there, find them, see them, assess them to see if it's really meaningful or not," Young said.

Young called the satellite images "relatively indistinct" and said, though promising, authorities are proceeding guardedly.

"We have been in this business of doing search and rescue and using satellite images before, and they do not always turn out to be related to the search even if [the imagery looks] good," he said.

Until the debris is confirmed as belonging to the plane, both the north and the south search corridors will continue to be scoured, Hussein said.

The site where the debris was spotted is within the vast Indian Ocean Gyre, which is a natural collection point for debris in that ocean, according to CNN. It is also a deep part of the Indian Ocean.

The plane disappeared en route to Beijing, China, after taking off from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, around 12:41 a.m. local time on March 8. 

The flight, carrying 239 people, including three Americans, gave no signals of distress before losing communication. 

The search for the missing aircraft has spanned more than 100,000 square miles and included help from more than two dozen countries.

Copyright 2014 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

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