Chinese authorities said today that a satellite spotted a large object in the area of the Indian Ocean where the search continues for Malaysian Airlines flight MH 370. Malaysia's defense minister Hishammuddin Hussein says China will send ships to investigate the object.
The 74-foot by 43-foot object was seen in an image captured by a Chinese satellite on Tuesday. It's located in an area roughly 1,500 miles off the coast of Perth, Australia that has seen the most focused search for clues since the Boeing 777-200 disappeared on March 8th. Today's search will cover nearly 14,000 square miles and involve long-range commercial jets including a Gulfstream G5, which can spend up to five hours searching before having to return to land.
Yesterday, Malaysian Airlines CEO Ahmad Jauhari admitted that flight 370 was carrying lithium ion batteries in its cargo area, coming days after he denied the aircraft carried any hazardous materials. Lithium ion batteries can be a fire hazard, involved in 140 flight incidents in the past 20 years. [The New York Times; AP; The Daily Mail via Business Insider]
Update: It turns out, the news of the object being spotted on the satellite image was broken in a rather dramatic fashion. Head on over to Jalopnik for the story, with video.
Image: Flight Officer Stuart Doubleday uses binoculars on board a Royal Australian Air Force AP-3C Orion to scan for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in southern Indian Ocean, Australia, Saturday, March 22, 2014. Image from AP.