Mar. 23 - Australia's prime minister says objects sighted in the southern Indian Ocean during search for missing Malaysia Airlines plane. Rough cut (no reporter narration)
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Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Sunday (March 23) a civilian aircraft had spotted objects in the southern Indian Ocean during a search for the missing Malaysian airliner a day earlier.
"Yesterday one of our civilian search aircraft got visuals on a number of objects in a fairly small area in the overall Australian search zone, finally the search is being joined today by four additional aircraft, two Chinese aircraft and two Japanese Orions," Abbott said, shortly before leaving Papua New Guinea.
Abbott said the latest developments had provided credible leads.
"It's still too early to be definite, but obviously we have now had a number of very credible leads and there is increasing hope, no more than hope, no more than hope, that we might be on the road to discovering what did happen to this ill-fated aircraft," he said.
On Saturday (March 22), China said it had a new satellite image of what could be some wreckage from the missing airliner as planes scoured some of the remotest seas on Earth for possible debris.
The latest possible lead came as the search for Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 entered its third week, with still no confirmed trace found of the Boeing 777 or the 239 people on board.
Flight MH370 vanished from civilian radar screens early on March 8, less than an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur on a scheduled flight to Beijing.
Investigators believe someone on board shut off the plane's communications systems, and partial military radar tracking showed it turning west and re-crossing the Malay Peninsula, apparently under the control of a skilled pilot.
That has led them to focus on hijacking or sabotage, but they have not ruled out technical problems.
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