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Search Underway for MH370 Following Reports of Possible Debris

Surveillance aircraft patrolled a remote area in the southern Indian Ocean looking for a missing Malaysian airliner after Australia released satellite images of the region showing possible floating debris.

Malaysian Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said the photos represented a "credible lead" in the massive, multinational search for the plane, which disappeared on March 8 with 239 people on board.

The debris was found 2,500 kilometers southwest of the western Australian city of Perth. John Young with Australia's maritime authority said several Australian planes were headed to the area, but that search efforts could be complicated by poor visibility.

A large number of ships and planes from several countries are also being diverted to the area to help in the search.

Grainy photos released by Australian authorities showed the indistinct objects floating among the waves, partially submerged in the water. Officials estimate that one of the objects was 24 meters long and the other was five meters long.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who first announced the findings on Thursday, warned against making presumptions about the nature of the objects, saying it will be "extremely difficult" to locate them.

There have been several false leads in the search.

Australia has been helping coordinate the southern section of the search for the Boeing 777. At least 26 nations have been hunting for the plane across a search area covering more than seven million square kilometers.



Investigators believe someone with advanced knowledge of aircraft deliberately diverted the plane either south toward the Indian Ocean or north toward Central Asia. They have refused to rule out any possibility, including terrorism, pilot suicide, or a mechanical malfunction.

U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday said the search is a "top priority" for the United States. He told a U.S. television station that he has put every available resource into the effort.

American and Malaysia investigators have been trying to analyze data from a flight simulator belonging to one of the plane's pilots. Malaysian officials say some of the data has been deleted and is now in the process of being reconstructed.

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