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Australia: Objects Spotted By Satellite Imagery May Be Linked To Jet

Australian satellite images found objects that are possibly connected to the Malaysia Airlines flight that went missing with 239 people on board March 8. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott told his Parliament on Thursday, "New and credible information has come to light in relation to the search."

"The Australian Maritime Safety Authority has received information based on satellite imagery of objects possibly related to the search," Abbott said. "Following specialist analysis of this satellite imagery, two possible objects related to the search have been identified."

Four aircraft have been diverted to the southern Indian Ocean to locate the objects. The Associated Press reports:

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"Abbott cautioned, however, that the task of locating these objects will be extremely difficult and 'it may turn out that they are not related to the search for flight MH370.' "

You can watch the prime minister's update on this video from The Sydney Morning Herald:

In a news conference Thursday after Abbott's remarks, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority provided an update on the situation. Emergency response manager John Young said the "most likely scenario" was that aircraft would locate an object — "if it is findable" — and then report its location. From there, the Maritime Safety Authority would deploy a ship to the area.

"That would be our first chance to get a close-up look at whatever the objects might be and progressively advance the identification of whether they're associated with the [missing plane] search or not," Young said.

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The New York Times reminded us Wednesday that finding plane debris "would be only a modest step in locating the rest of the Boeing 777. And only then could they dig into the question of why it crashed."

Update at 12:45 a.m. ET. Four Aircraft Diverted To The Scene:

Four aircraft have been diverted to the site where Australian satellite imagery picked up two objects. John Young, general manager of emergency response for the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, spoke with reporters Thursday.

"It's probably the best lead we have right now," he said. But he warns that the objects may still be difficult to locate.

The size of the objects (he said the largest was about 79 feet) and the fact that both were found in the same area made them worth sending aircraft to check, though Young is wary of speculating.

The site is about 1,429 miles southwest of Perth, Australia.