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May 27, 2017

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More images of possible jetliner debris released

PERTH, Australia -- France provided new satellite images Sunday showing possible debris from the missing Malaysia Airlines jet, Malaysian officials said, as searchers combing a remote part of the southern Indian Ocean tried to locate a pallet that could be a key clue in solving one of the world's great aviation mysteries.

The imagery given to Malaysia's government and forwarded to searchers in Australia "show potential objects" in the same part of the ocean where previous satellite images released by Australia and China showed objects that could be debris from the plane, Malaysia's Ministry of Transport said in a statement.

Flight 370 went missing over the Gulf of Thailand on March 8 with 239 people on board en route from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing, setting off a multinational search effort that has turned up nothing conclusive so far on what happened to the jet.

The French satellite images themselves had not been released or described by Malaysia, France or Australia hours after the announcement of their existence. In an emailed statement, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority declined to offer details about what they showed or where the objects were located and did not respond to multiple requests by The Associated Press for access to the images.

"Any satellite images or other new information that comes to AMSA is being considered in developing the search plans," the agency said.

But a Malaysian official involved in the search mission said the images were captured Friday and pinpointed objects about 930 kilometers (575 miles) north of the spots where the objects in the images released by Australia and China were located.

One of the objects in the French imagery was estimated to be about the same size as an object captured Tuesday by the Chinese satellite that appeared to be 22 meters by 13 meters, said the official, who declined to be identified because he isn't authorized to speak to the media. But the official said the French satellite image was unclear and fuzzy, making it difficult to determine precise dimensions.

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