In what has been a rather frustrating and futile search, a Chinese government agency revealed that satellites investigating the mysterious disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 discovered what it calls a “possible crash area” at sea.
The State Administration for Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense of China bared its discovery which includes images of what it believed were “three suspected floating objects” which measured 13 x 18 meters (43 x 59 feet), 14 x 19 meters (46 x 62 ft), and 24 x 22 meters (79 x 72 feet), respectively. For reference, the wingspan of the missing Boeing 777-200ER measured 61 meters (200 ft) and its overall length is 64 meters (210 feet).
The images were captured 11 am of March 9th, one day after it disappeared but was not released until Wednesday. After putting the coordinates at 105.6 east longitude and 6.7 north latitude, the Chinese agency placed the missing plane at waters northeast of its take off point in Kuala Lumpur and south Vietnam, where the South China Sea meets the Gulf of Thailand.
Although this is not the first time that authorities announced the discovery of objects or oil slicks connected to the aircraft, this is the latest and comes a day after officials, instead of narrowing the search area, more than doubled it a day earlier to almost 27,000 square nautical miles.
Bill Palmer, author of a book on Air France’s Flight 447, which also mysteriously disappeared before its remnants were found, said that a search area of such proportions can be greatly challenging. In an interview with CNN’s Brooke Baldwin, Palmer said that “It’s a very, very difficult situation to try to find anything. Looking for pieces on the shimmering water does not make it easier.”
However, not all experts believe in the discovery. Clive Irving, a Senior Editor with Conde Nast Traveler, said that the size of the pieces does not match with anything that’s on the plane since they are relatively square and large. Tom Haueter, a former NTSB aviation safety director, said it will be surprising if the objects came from the plane since big things will not float.
Nevertheless, time is essential both for investigators and the relatives of the 239 passengers and crew, who have been waiting since Saturday for any developments that could provide closure.