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March 20, 2014

Australia checking 2 objects in search for plane

(Continued)

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia —

The hunt for the Boeing 777 has been punctuated by several false leads since it disappeared above the Gulf of Thailand. Oil slicks that were spotted did not contain jet fuel. A yellow object thought to be from the plane turned out to be a piece of sea trash. Chinese satellite images showed possible plane debris, but nothing was found.

But this is the first time that possible objects have been spotted since the search area was massively expanded into two corridors, one stretching from northern Thailand into Central Asia and the other from the Strait of Malacca down to southern reaches of the Indian Ocean.

Hishammuddin made clear that although international search efforts are continuing both on land and in sea in the northern and southern hemispheres, the effort is mostly concentrated south of the equator over the vast Indian Ocean.

Out of a total of 29 aircraft, 18 ships and six ship-borne helicopters deployed in the operation, only four aircraft are now scouring the north.

Norwegian cargo vessel Hoegh St. Petersburg was rerouted and arrived at the area in the Indian Ocean where the possible wreckage was spotted.

“They (the ship) have been asked to continue the search tomorrow and they will continue tomorrow morning,” Olav Sollie from Hoegh Autoliners told a news conference in Oslo.

The Norwegian ship, which transports cars, was on its way from South Africa to Australia Sollie said. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority said another commercial ship and an Australian navy vessel were also en route to the search area.

Flight 370 disappeared on a night flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Malaysian authorities have not ruled out any possible explanation, but have said the evidence so far suggests the plane was deliberately turned back across Malaysia to the Strait of Malacca, with its communications systems disabled. They are unsure what happened next.

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