Bad weather has again delayed the search for the missing Malaysia jetliner, a day after fresh satellite images revealed a possible debris field.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority said Thursday poor conditions forced all search planes to leave the remote region of the southern Indian Ocean. It said ships will continue searching.
In a statement on Twitter Thursday evening Australia time, the authority said it expects the bad weather to continue for 24 hours.
Eleven airplanes and five ships had scrambled to the area, 2,500 kilometers off the southwest coast of Australia, in an effort to reach the possible debris before the bad weather hit.
It is the second time this week that poor conditions have delayed the search, which is taking place in one of the most isolated and treacherous bodies of water on Earth.
The planes are trying to reach the location where 122 possible objects were seen in satellite photos taken Sunday. Some of the objects appeared to be shiny and ranged in size from one to 23 meters.
Malaysian Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein stressed Wednesday the objects may not be parts of the missing aircraft, but he said the development represents "another new lead" in the investigation.
The possible debris was spotted not far from where other potential objects related to the plane were also seen in Chinese and Australian satellite photographs.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority, which is helping coordinate the search, said Wednesday its planes spotted three objects - "likely rope" and a "blue object" in the area.
Malaysian officials say satellite data shows the aircraft almost certainly crashed into the sea, far from any land.
The plane, which was carrying 239 people, went missing without a distress call on March 8, hours after departing Kuala Lumpur for Beijing.
Once wreckage is found, the search effort will then focus on finding the plane's flight data recorder, or black box, which should provide clues about what went wrong.