New Analysis Detects Objects Near Suspected MH370 Plane Crash Site


An Australian Air Force plane flying over the southern Indian Ocean on March 22, 2014, during the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Credit Pool photo by Rob Griffith

HONG KONG — Australia said on Wednesday that 12 objects that floated in 2014 near the suspected crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 were “probably man-made,” according to a new analysis of satellite images, adding a fresh wrinkle to one of the world’s great aviation mysteries.

A nearly three-year underwater search for the Boeing 777 — in a 46,000-square-mile area of the southern Indian Ocean — was indefinitely suspended in January after it failed to find traces of the aircraft, although some debris was found as far away as Tanzania and Mauritius.

Any decision on future searches would be up to Malaysia, where the aircraft was registered, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau said in a statement on Wednesday.

The new information about the objects spotted in 2014 “may be useful’’ in such a search, the bureau’s chief commissioner, Greg Hood, said in the statement.

However, he said, the image resolution was not high enough to allow experts to determine whether the objects were indeed from MH370.

“Clearly, we must be cautious,” Mr. Hood said.

The satellite images were captured by the French military two weeks after the aircraft went missing with 239 people on board during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014. Mr. Hood said that the area covered by the images was close to the underwater search area, but had not been searched from the air at the time.

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