New images buoy MH370 search as first legal salvo fired
By Dan Martin
Kuala Lumpur (AFP) - Dozens of floating objects detected at sea provided fresh evidence Wednesday that the difficult search for flight MH370 debris was on course, as US lawyers fired the first salvo in an expected barrage of lawsuits on behalf of grieving families.
Malaysia said satellite images taken in recent days showed "122 potential objects" in the remote southern Indian Ocean, a discovery likely to energise an international effort to recover suspected debris from the missing plane that has been frustrated by stormy weather.
Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein cautioned that it was impossible to determine whether the objects were related to the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 which crashed on March 8 with 239 people aboard after it mysteriously disappearing.
"Nevertheless, this is another new lead that will help direct the search operation," he told a daily press briefing, calling it "the most credible lead that we have".
The images were provide by European aerospace giant Airbus and depicted some objects as long as 23 metres (75 feet), he said.
Seeking closure in the searing drama, anguished families of those aboard are desperately awaiting hard evidence, which the aviation industry hopes can also provide clues to what caused one of air travel's greatest mysteries.
But as the search continued, US law firm Ribbeck Law Chartered International said it was getting the ball rolling on potentially "multi-million dollar" lawsuits against Malaysia Airlines and Boeing.
- Airline and Boeing are 'responsible' -
"We are going to be filing the lawsuits for millions of dollars per each passenger based on prior cases that we have done involving crashes like this one," the firm's head of aviation litigation, Monica Kelly, told reporters in Kuala Lumpur.
A separate statement by the firm, which filed an initial court petition in the US state of Illinois on Tuesday, said the two companies "are responsible for the disaster of Flight MH370".
The airline declined detailed comment.
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