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Day's search for missing Malaysian airliner turns up empty

| Sunday, March 23, 2014, 6:48 p.m.
FILE - In this March 23, 2014 photo, a woman walks past a message board for passengers aboard a missing Malaysia Airlines plane, at a shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. With no answers yet in the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, investigators have said they’re considering many options: hijacking, sabotage, terrorism or catastrophic equipment failure. Nobody knows if the pilots are heroes who tried to save a crippled airliner or if one collaborated with hijackers or was on a suicide mission. The mystery has raised concerns about whether airlines and governments do enough to make sure that pilots are mentally fit to fly. (AP Photo/Lai Seng Sin)

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — France announced on Sunday it has new satellite data showing potential debris from the missing Malaysia Airlines plane, the latest in a stream of images that has raised hopes that the jet may finally be found.

But Australian officials said a search by planes produced no significant sightings.

The French images are the third set of satellite pictures issued in the past week that depict what could be wreckage from the plane that disappeared on March 8 with 239 people on board. However, it was not clear whether they came from the same part of the Indian Ocean where other satellite images were taken.

The French Foreign Ministry said radar echoes from a satellite had indicated the presence of debris in the ocean about 1,400 miles from the Australian coastal city of Perth but gave no direction or date.

That is roughly the same distance from Perth as satellite pictures released earlier by China and Australia, but a Malaysian official, who declined to be named, told the Associated Press they were nearly 600 miles to the north of the other images, meaning they could not be related.

“France had decided to mobilize complementary satellite means to continue the search in the identified zone,” the French Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority on Sunday expanded the search effort once again, in light of the most recent sightings, with four military aircraft and four civilian jets scouring two areas of ocean of about 22,800 square miles.

The hunt for the plane — which vanished mysteriously while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing — is one of the broadest aviation search-and-rescue operations in history.

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