and Scott McDonald
PERTH, AUSTRALIA: The clues keep piling up: more and more mysterious objects spotted bobbing in the southern Indian Ocean, perhaps part of the missing Malaysian airliner, perhaps not. But just as the night sky depicts the universe as it once was, the satellite images that reveal these items are also a glance backward in time.
Strong winds and fast currents make it difficult to pinpoint where they are right now, and stormy weather Thursday again halted the hunt by air and sea for evidence of debris fields. The search for the plane that disappeared March 8 has yet to produce a single piece of debris — not to mention the black boxes, which could solve the mystery of why the jet flew so far off-course.
For relatives of the 239 people aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, it was yet another agonizing day of waiting.
“Until something is picked up and analyzed to make sure it’s from MH370, we can’t believe it,” Steve Wang, whose 57-year-old mother was aboard the flight, said in Beijing. “Without that, it’s useless.”
Japan said it provided Malaysia with information from satellite images taken Wednesday showing about 10 objects that might be debris from the plane, with the largest measuring about 13 feet by 26 feet. The objects were located about 1,560 miles southwest of Perth, Japan’s Cabinet Intelligence and Research Office said.
That would place them in the same general area as the 122 objects spotted by a French satellite on Sunday.
Muddying the picture perhaps, a Thai satellite revealed about 300 objects about 125 miles to the southwest of the items seen by the Japanese and French satellites. The photos were taken Monday, one day after the French and two days before the Japanese.
The objects spotted by the Thaichote satellite ranged from 2 meters to 16 meters long, said Anond Snidvongs, director of Thailand’s space technology development agency.
A Pentagon spokesman, Rear Adm. John Kirby, said the United States has also been “sharing imagery as appropriate” with investigators, but he declined to say what it entailed.