March 20, 2014 - John Young, general manager of the emergency response division of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), answers a question as he stands in front of a diagram showing the search area for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean, during a briefing in Canberra March 20, 2014.
Two objects that could be debris from the missing Malaysia Airlines jet have been found 1,550 miles off the coast of Australia in the Indian Ocean.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott made the announcement at the start of Question Time in the House of Representatives.
The potential debris was identified from satellite imagery.
"Following specialist analysis of this satellite imagery, two possible objects related to the search have been identified," Abbott said.
A P-3 Orion patrol aircraft has been diverted to the area and three more are on their way. Ships and helicopters from the Malaysian Navy are also being sent to the site to aid in the search, according to CNN.
Abbott said the objects will be difficult to find and might not be related to the jet, which has been missing for more than 12 days with 239 people on board.
ABC correspondent David Wright, who is on board one of the planes that has been sent out to search for the missing Malaysia jet, said the aircraft's radar is getting "hits of significant size" that all indicate "something is down there."
Further images of the supposed debris are expected to come in from commercial satellites, Australian Maritime Safety Authority general manager John Young said during a press conference.
The objects are indistinct in the current imagery, Young said. He noted that the objects are "of reasonable size" and that the largest piece is about 78 feet long.
ABC foreign editor Jon Williams put this new development into perspective:
Cautionary tale from @SteveGanyard. Air France wreckage spotted 5 days after crashed in Atlantic. Took 2 years to recover black box. #MH370
— Jon Williams (@WilliamsJon) March 20, 2014 It's possible that the objects seen in the satellite imagery could be other debris — such as items that fell off a cargo ship — but Young said it's the best lead they have right now.
Here's the full statement that Young released to the media:
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority is coordinating the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines aircraft, with assistance from the Australian Defence Force, the New Zealand Air Force and the United States Navy.
AMSA’s Rescue Coordination Centre Australia has received satellite imagery of objects possibly related to the search for the missing aircraft, flight MH370.
RCC Australia received an expert assessment of commercial satellite imagery on Thursday.
The images were captured by satellite. They may not be related to the aircraft.
The assessment of these images was provided by the Australian Geospatial-Intelligence Organisation as a possible indication of debris south of the search area that has been the focus of the search operation.
The imagery is in the vicinity of the search area defined and searched in the past two days.
Four aircraft have been reoriented to the area 2500 kilometres south-west of Perth as a result of this information.
A Royal Australian Air Force Orion aircraft arrived in the area about 1.50pm.
A further three aircraft have been tasked by RCC Australia to the area later today, including a Royal New Zealand Air Force Orion and United States Navy P8 Poseidon aircraft.
The Poseidon aircraft is expected to arrive at 3pm. The second RAAF Orion is expected to depart RAAF Base Pearce at 6pm.
The New Zealand Orion is due to depart at 8pm.
A RAAF C-130 Hercules aircraft has been tasked by RCC Australia to drop datum marker buoys.
These marker buoys assist RCC Australia by providing information about water movement to assist in drift modelling. They will provide an ongoing reference point if the task of relocating the objects becomes protracted.
A merchant ship that responded to a shipping broadcast issued by RCC Australia on Monday is expected to arrive in the area about 6pm.
Royal Australian Navy ship HMAS Success is en route to the area but is some days away from this area. She is well equipped to recover any objects located and proven to be from MH370.
The focus for AMSA is to continue the search operation, with all available assets.
The assets are searching for anything signs of the missing aircraft.
Weather conditions are moderate in the Southern Indian Ocean where the search is taking place. Poor visibility has been reported.
AMSA continues to hold grave concerns for the passengers and crew on board.
Australia released this map of the search area:
A diagram showing the search area for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean is seen during a briefing by John Young, general manager of the emergency response division of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), in Canberra March 20, 2014.
Flight MH370 has been missing since it seemingly vanished from its flight path March 8 en route to Beijing from Malaysia. After extensive search efforts involving several countries, the investigation has centered around the possibility the plane was hijacked.
Authorities identified two potential flight corridors the plane may have taken after it was diverted from its intended route. Australia has been leading search efforts in the Indian Ocean. The other corridor would have taken the plane north west to Asia.
Investigations turned to the pilots, crew and passengers as it became increasingly unlikely the disappearance was the result of an aviation accident. This week it was revealed a flight computer in the cockpit was manually programmed to take the plane off course.
Malaysian officials recently refuted claims the jet had been seen by residents over the Maldives, a remote island nation in the Indian Ocean.