Australia’s prime minister said on Sunday he was hopeful a clue will emerge soon to narrow the hunt for Flight 370, as more objects were pulled from the southern Indian Ocean and checked to see if they were part of the plane that went missing more than three weeks ago.
But so far, even though more ships are scouring the area off western Australia, none of the recovered items has been connected to the Malaysia Airlines plane that crashed March 8 with 239 people on board.
“My understanding from this morning is that there has been no discrete debris associated with the flight,” Australian Navy Commodore Peter Leavy told reporters Sunday.
In Sydney, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott described the “intensifying search effort” as positive because objects “have been recovered from the ocean.”
The Australian Maritimes Safety Authority said 10 planes took part in the search Sunday, leaving in staggered times from the western city of Perth. Eight ships were on the scene, including the Australian navy supply ship HMAS Success, which is to store any wreckage found.
The ships are trying to locate and identify the objects sighted by aircraft over the past two days.
Leavy, the commander of the search task force, said the operation was made more difficult because the particular area being combed is in a shipping lane littered with potentially more floating objects.
AMSA said there were light showers and low cloud in the area, but not enough to disrupt the search, which is about 2 1/2 hours flying time from Perth, allowing the planes five hours of searching time before they have to return to base.