Bangkok: Thailand has spotted 300 floating objects in the southern Indian Ocean during a satellite search for the missing Malaysian airliner, its space agency said.
The objects, ranging from two to 15 metres in size, were scattered over an area about 2700 kilometres southwest of Perth, Anond Snidvongs, executive director of the Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency, said on Thursday.
‘‘But we cannot - dare not - confirm they are debris from the plane,’’ the agency’s executive director, Dr Anond said.
He said the information had been given to Malaysia.
The pictures were taken by Thailand’s only earth observation satellite on Monday but needed several days to process, Dr Anond added.
He said the objects were spotted about 200 kilometres away from an area where French satellite images earlier showed potential objects in the search for the Boeing 777 which vanished on March 8 with 239 people aboard.
Separately, Japanese satellite images from Wednesday show about 10 objects floating in a 10km radius 2500 km off the west coast of Australia, according to CNN. The biggest object measured 4 by 8 metres, the Japanese Cabinet Intelligence and Research Office said.
Meanwhile, planes searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 turned back to Perth on Thursday afternoon as dangerous weather conditions swept across the southern Indian Ocean.
But an update from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority announced that ships would keep searching, with the bad weather expected to continue for the next 24 hours.
The air search was called off just four hours after AMSA announced it had resumed operations for the day.
It is the second day this week that conditions at sea have forced the suspension of the international search in an area that is notorious for its rapidly changing conditions.
Five ships and 11 aircraft were scheduled to be involved in Thursday's operation, which is covering 78,000 square kilometres of ocean in an area some 2500km south-west of Perth.
On Thursday, WA's chief Bureau of Meteorology forecaster, Neil Bennett, said although the BOM forecast had been for severe weather on Thursday, the timing of when it would hit the search zone had not been clear.
The search zone falls into an area of the Indian Ocean branded "the roaring forties" by mariners who regularly experienced gale force winds when passing through the area.
"For any vessel encountering gale force winds, you've got to take precautions, there are safety issues there, they are dangerous conditions," Mr Bennett said.
BOM forecasts the winds and rain will begin clearing again from late Thursday night.
"There may well be some showers still hanging around tomorrow but we believe the frequency and intensity of the showers and wind will decrease," Mr Bennett said.
A Reuters crew were at Perth International airport speaking to the officer in charge of the US Navy P-8 Poseidon, which was being prepared for takeoff, when the air search was abruptly halted.
"The forecast in the area was calling for severe icing, severe turbulence and near zero visibility," Lieutenant Commander Adam Schantz told Reuters.
"Anybody who's out there is coming home and all additional sorties from here are cancelled."
AFP and staff reporters