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Large pieces of debris found near where plane disappeared

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International News | Thursday March 13 2014 6:51

Satellite images released by Chinese authorities of where they believe the crash site of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 is (sastind.gov.cn)

Satellite images released by Chinese authorities of where they believe the crash site of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 is (sastind.gov.cn)

UPDATE 3:07pm: The just-discovered debris hoped to be the remains of the missing Malaysia Airlines plane is very large.

China's State Administration for Science, Technology and Industry made the discovery, and has released images of three pieces of suspected wreckage.

The biggest piece measures 24 metres by 22.

The coordinates match the area where the plane first went missing, northeast of Kuala Lumpur, and south of Vietnam.

CNN's Richard Quest acknowledges it's still very early days, but says all the signs point to it being the remains of Flight 370.

"It's in the right place. If you look at the distance between where the plane was last and where this debris has been found, the currents suggest it's the right direction. The Chinese, knowing as we do would not just be willy willy putting our this information."

CNN law enforcement analyst Tom Fuentes says, if it is the missing plane, it shouldn't be too hard for searchers now they have a starting point.

"The transmitting device with the black boxes is supposed to transmit for 30 days. So they still have plenty of time to get submarines or destroyers that have appropriate sonar and look for the pinging of the black boxes."

Tough time for wife of missing Kiwi

An agonising wait for the wife of one of the New Zealand men onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines flight

now a suspected crash site has been discovered.

A Chinese satellite has taken pictures of three large pieces of debris, the biggest 24-by-22 metres.

The coordinates put it near where the South China Sea meets the Gulf of Thailand, between Kuala Lumpur and Vietnam.

Paul Weeks' wife, Danica, told CNN every time the phone rings her heart jumps out of her chest.

"Today I've heard nothing. Nothing today. So whether this new information...I don't know, got nothing from them today."

The Weeks family moved to Perth after the Christchurch earthquakes.

"We owe it to the families to tell the truth"

Malaysian authorities are promising transparency, as the search continues for the Malaysian airliner that went missing five days ago.

Malaysia's transport minister says the search area for the missing Boeing triple seven is now covering 70,000km - an area the size of Ireland.

Hishamuddin Hussein says it's concentrating on two areas - the Straits of Malacca and the South China Sea.

"42 ships and 39 aircraft have now been dispatched to look for MH370.

"12 countries have joined the search, with India Japan and Brunei being the latest to join in.".

Malaysian Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein has hit out at speculation in the media, and says officials have been up-front all along.

"The information that we have been saying in the last release is consistent, it's transparent - we have nothing to hide.

"And actually we owe it to the families to tell the truth."

Aviation experts are piecing together the information coming out of Malaysia on Flight 370 and many are coming up with the same theory.

It's based on a supposition that the plane did a u-turn over Vietnam, then kept flying for over an hour.

Boeing has warned in the past of a problem with the triple seven where they've developed cracks in the fuselage around the aircraft's communication antennas.

Former inspector-general at the US Transportation Department, Mary Schiavo says if the plane had experienced a rapid decompression, the recovery procedure is to turn around, drop altitude and make a circle.

But while the plane would have lost communications it wouldn't have fallen out of the sky.

"All the necessary systems would have gone down in that battery power and the planes power would have gone into keeping control services and keeping the engines running. I believe they need to be looking where they would have run out of fuel."

Ms Schiavo doesn't believe the Malaysian government believes a hi-jack story.

Malaysian officials are asking US aviation experts for help to locate the missing Boeing triple seven.

They need assistance analysing radar data.

There's been no trace of Flight 370, heading into the fifth day of its disappearance.

Relatives are angry and frustrated at the lack of information - and at the number of contradictory reports coming through.

A spokesman released a statement on behalf of the families.

"We've been crying, there's a feeling of loss but for sure we're still hoping.

"Because the plane has not been found we still hope that we'll be together the way we were before."

Authorities expand search

Authorities are expanding their search for the Malaysia airliner that went missing five days ago.

A total of 42 ships and 39 aircraft from 12 countries are now involved in the search, including a New Zealand Airforce P3 Orion.

Malaysian Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein says they will cover over 27-thousand square nautical miles - including the Strait of Malacca and the South China Sea.

"We are deploying all our vessels and also aircrafts, and from the neighbouring countries in these two areas.

"If we knew for sure it was in Malacca Straits we would have moved all the assets there."

US experts are being asked to figure out if the missing Boeing triple seven really did turn around before communication was lost.

There's still been no sign of the plane, and news of the search is being muddled by a host of confusing and contradictory reports.

CNN's Nic Robertson says one of the scenarios is that there was possibly a crack in the fuselage...

"That crack could have damaged the antenna that sent out the information from the transponderrs and the communications - a significant mechanical error which caiused the pilots to do whatever they could and turn the aircraft."

Mr Robertson says the aircraft is designed to isolate damaged components to try to stay in the air - so it could have continued in the air for some time as a "ghost aircraft".

Meanwhile, a New Zealander working in Vietnam believes he saw the last moments of missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370.

The plane suddenly disappeared from radar over the weekend, and there's still no sign of any wreckage.

Michael McKay works on an oil-rig off the southern coast of Vietnam.

He saw what he believes to be the plane, burning at high altitude in the night sky, and still in one piece.

He's contacted Malaysian and Vietnamese authorities with the information, but doesn't know if his message was received.

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