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March 21, 2014

‘Best lead’ in plane search: 2 objects seen in sea

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Search planes joined a freighter early today to scan rough seas in one of the remotest places on Earth after satellite images detected possible pieces from the missing Malaysia Airlines plane in the southern Indian Ocean.

In what officials called the “best lead” of the nearlytwo-week-old aviation mystery, a satellite detected two large objects floating about 1,000 miles off the southwestern coast of Australia and halfway to the desolate islands of the Antarctic.

The development raised new hope of finding the vanished jet and sent another emotional jolt to the families of the 239 people aboard.

Australian authorities said in a statement early Friday that the search had turned up nothing so far. Efforts were resuming with the first of five aircraft — a Royal Australian Air Force P3 Orion — leaving the base in Western Australia for the search around dawn. A civilian Gulfstream jet and a second Orion were expected to depart later Friday morning and a third Orion was due to fly out in the early afternoon to scour more than 13,000 square miles of ocean.

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