Missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370: Floating debris spotted by Chinese satellite image

A Chinese satellite has identified another object in the Indian Ocean that could be from the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

The object is about 22.5 metres long and 13 metres wide.

The high-definition earth observation satellite Gaofen-1 spotted the object at around midnight on March 18, according to China’s State Administration of Science Technology and Industry for National Defence (SASTIND).

Chinese ships and planes were heading towards the area on Saturday night.

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The New York Times reported the debris was spotted about 120 kilometre from where two objects were seen two days earlier by a commercial satellite.

The object is in the area of one of two possible routes that investigators say they think Flight 370 took, The Times reported.Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein of Malaysia told reporters that the Chinese “will be sending ships to verify.”

Dr John Blaxland, a senior fellow from Australian National University (ANU) said in a telephone interview with media agency, Xinhua, on Saturday that if the measurements of the object were correct, they were consistent with a wing of a Boeing 777 airliner.

Asked about whether the newly spotted object would be the one sighted in an earlier satellite image, Dr Blaxland, from ANU's Strategic and Defense Studies Centre, said they don't seem to be the same object.

"It's similar shaped, but if the measurements (are correct), then this is slightly wider," he said.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) appeared to downplay the latest finding, stating it had searched the area earlier on Saturday and sighted no such debris.

But it said further attempts would be made when the search resumed on Sunday to establish whether the objects spotted are related to the missing MH370.

It said China provided the satellite image to Australia on Saturday night.

"AMSA has plotted the position and it falls within Saturday’s search area. The object was not sighted on Saturday," the statement continued.

Despite that, the search team would take the information into account when plotting today's search plans.

China's embassy in Kuala Lumpur advised Malaysian authorities of the sighting late on Saturday.

Malaysia's acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein announced the finding after being handed a note during a press briefing where he expressed concern about a category one cyclone forming in the Indian Ocean near Christmas Island.

Ships from China and other nations joining the search may have to pass through the cyclone danger area, Mr Hishammuddin said.

Mr Hishammuddin said conditions in what has been identified as a ''southern corridor'' search area of the Indian Ocean have been extremely challenging with ocean depths as much as 7000 metres.

Malaysian authorities said the transcript of a purported recording of the conversations between the pilots and air traffic control in Kuala Lumpur before MH370 inexplicably turned around over the South China Sea on Match 8 was inaccurate.

But Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, director-general of Malaysia's civil aviation department, declined to say how the transcript was inaccurate.

Mr Hishammuddin told journalists investigators are still analysing the conversations and the transcript would not be made public. But he said there did not appear to be anything ''abnormal'' in the conversations.

The story Missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370: Floating debris spotted by Chinese satellite image first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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