Cluster of satellite sightings raises hopes in Flight 370 search
By Michael Pearson, Jethro Mullen and Mitra Mobasherat, CNN
updated 1:07 PM EDT, Thu March 27, 2014
(CNN) -- Japan and Thailand both said Thursday they've sent new satellite images to Malaysia showing separate debris fields that could be related to missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
The announcements come just a day after Malaysian officials announced a French satellite had found 122 pieces of something floating nearby, and days after similar findings in the same general area -- all part of the search for Flight 370. The plane vanished March 8 with 239 people aboard.
It's enough to make you wonder: Have they found that proverbial haystack inside which they'll find the well-hidden wreckage?
Maybe. Maybe not.
While analysts say it's intriguing that the finds all appear to be in the same general area, searchers have yet to lay eyes on any of the objects, much less haul one aboard a ship and take a close look at it.
Stephen Wood, a former CIA analyst and satellite imagery expert, said the satellites could be seeing something as simple as whitecaps, which he said can look deceptively like solid objects.
CNN aviation analyst Jeff Wise said that while the latest find is "very enticing," the number and size of the objects make him question whether they could be from the plane.
"If you see something floating that's 60 feet across, that could be a big chunk of fuselage," he said. "But if you have 10 pieces that are 60 feet across, that would indicate that they're not from the plane, because the plane has only so much stuff in it."
But Miles O'Brien, another CNN aviation analyst, said what he sees on the latest satellite images doesn't look like everyday garbage to him.
"What I see there is something that seems to be somewhat metallic and shiny. Looks like airplane wreckage to me. I also see some surfaces that look like they're aerodynamic."
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