KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (CNN, March 22, 2014) — China has new satellite images showing a large object floating in the southern Indian Ocean and will be sending ships to verify, the Malaysian transport minister said Saturday.
The object is 22.5 meters long and 13 meters wide (74 feet by 43 feet), Hishammuddin Hussein announced. He told reporters he’d just gotten the information, and China will release more details in the “coming hours.”
China later said the satellite images showing the “suspected floating object” were captured four days ago, on March 18.
The floating object was about 77 miles from where earlier satellite images spotted floating debris. The search for the missing Malaysian jetliner expanded Saturday as various countries dispatched additional aircraft and ships to scan the choppy waters of the southern Indian Ocean.
At least six search flights were involved Saturday, including two private jets.
Though the two civilian jets did not have radar, their role was crucial, authorities said. “It is more likely that a pair of eyes are going to identify something floating in the ocean,” Australian Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss said. The first two planes to sweep the southern Indian Ocean on Saturday found no wreckage or debris, its pilots said. Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 vanished on March 8 with 239 people aboard destined for Beijing from Kuala Lumpur.