No debris found at spot shown on Chinese satellite images, Malaysia says

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No signs of the missing Malaysian jetliner have been found at a location where Chinese satellite images showed what was thought to be plane debris, Malaysia’s civil aviation chief said Thursday.

Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said planes searched the location Thursday. “There is nothing. We went there, there is nothing,” he told reporters in Kuala Lumpur.

China’s official Xinhua News Agency reported late Wednesday a government website has satellite images of suspected debris from the Malaysia Airlines plane that vanished with 239 people aboard just hours after leaving Kuala Lumpur for Beijing early Saturday.

The satellite images from the morning of March 9 appear to show “three suspected floating objects” of varying sizes in the sea off the southern tip of Vietnam and east of Malaysia – a part of the original search area for the aircraft, which was en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

Pham Quy Tieu, Vietnam’s deputy transport minister, told The Associated Press that the area had been “searched thoroughly” by forces from other countries over the past few days. Doan Huu Gia, chief of air search and rescue coordination center, said Malaysian and Singaporean aircraft visited area again Thursday.

Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal reported early Thursday that U.S. aviation investigators and national security officials believe the plane flew for about four hours past the time it reached its last confirmed location, according to data automatically downloaded and sent to the ground from the Boeing 777’s engines as part of a routine maintenance and monitoring program.

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