March 27, 2014 00:00 By The Star/Asia News Network
Kual Lumpur - France has provided new leads in the search for the downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, with 122 potential objects identified from new satellite images.
Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said Airbus Defence and Space in France captured the new images on Sunday, and handed it over to the Malaysian Remote Sensing Agency (MRSA) Tuesday.
"MRSA analysed the images, and in an area measuring some 400 sq km, were able to identify 122 potential objects. Some objects were a metre in length, some objects were 23 metres in length. Some of the objects appeared bright, possibly indicating solid material," said Hishammuddin during a press conference at the Putra World Trade Centre here on Wednesday.
He added the information was relayed on Tuesday to the Rescue Coordination Centre in Perth, Australia.
"The objects were located approximately 2,557 kilometres from Perth. It must be emphasised we cannot tell if the objects are from MH370. Nevertheless, this is another new lead that will help direct the search operation," said Hishammuddin.
Prime Minister Najib Razak announced on Monday night that based on new analysis by satellite company Inmarsat and Britain's Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) on the satellite data provided, it was concluded that MH370 flew along the southern corridor to its last position in the middle of the Indian Ocean, west of Perth.
MH370, which had been missing for 17 days before Najib's announcement, disappeared from Malaysian radars at 2.15am on March 8 after taking off from Kuala Lumpur International Airport for Beijing at 1.30am. It carried 239 passengers and crew.
Meanwhile the security situation at the Malaysian Embassy in Beijing is currently under control in the aftermath of protests linked to Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
"I have been told that the security situation at our Embassy in Beijing is under control and I have informed our envoy in China about the actions taken in connection to a small minority of those involved. This issue will be addressed by both China and Malaysia," said Hishammuddin.
He had said this when asked by media at the daily MH370 press conference held at the Putra World Trade Centre on Wednesday.
On Tuesday morning, angry relatives of Chinese passengers on the Boeing 777 protested outside the Malaysian Embassy in Beijing, demanding an explanation from the airline and accusing the Malaysian Government in Kuala Lumpur of "cheating" them. 153 of the passengers on MH370 were Chinese citizens.
On the possibility that bilateral ties could be affected by the crash of MH370, Hishammuddin said that the cooperation between governments, including Malaysia's and China's, had in fact strengthened.
"As you all know, the Prime Minister will still be visiting China in May and President Obama will be visiting next month. The co-operation is going to be an asset in both visits," said Hishammuddin.