A Chinese plane on Monday spotted two white, square-shaped objects in an area identified by satellite imagery as containing possible debris from the missing Malaysian airliner, while the United States separately prepared to send a specialized device that can locate black boxes.
The crew aboard an IL-76 plane sighted the object in the southern Indian Ocean and reported the coordinates to the Australian command center, which is coordinating the multinational search, as well as the Chinese icebreaker Snow Dragon, which is en route to the area, China’s Xinhua News Agency reported.
The spotters saw two larger floating objects and some smaller, white debris scattered over several square kilometers (miles), the report said. It gave no other details.
Satellite images released by Australia and China had earlier identified possible debris in the area that may be linked to the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 on March 8 with 239 people aboard.
The U.S. Pacific command said it was sending a black box locator in case a debris field is located. The Towed Pinger Locator, which is pulled behind a vessel at slow speeds, has highly sensitive listening capability so that if the wreck site is located, it can hear the black box pinger down to a depth of about 20,000 feet (6,100 meters), Cmdr. Chris Budde, a U.S. Seventh Fleet operations officer, said in a statement.