Analyst: New satellite image "good news" for plane search

Roughly two weeks in, the search for the Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is now centered in the remote southern Indian Ocean, where a Chinese satellite recently spotted two floating objects that officials believe could be parts of the missing plane.

That sighting, CBS News aviation safety analyst Mark Rosenker said on "CBS This Morning: Saturday," is "good news" - but there's still quite a bit of uncertainty and difficulty facing those looking for the missing plane.

The part of the Indian Ocean being scoured is one of the most remote corners of the earth - a four-hour flight from Australia's west coast and with seas that sometimes swell to 50 feet. Since radar has proved ineffective in the rough weather, search pilots and their crews are now relying largely on their own eyes to spot debris.

"This is a very challenging part of the world to work in," Rosenker explained. "The weather is unfortunately going to deteriorate as we come in toward the fall and winter months. This is not going to be an easy search."

There are also concerns about the age of the satellite photos, which were taken on Tuesday, raising the possibility that the debris could have sunk or drifted far afield from where it was spotted.

"Let's hope that what the Chinese have spotted on their satellites is fresh," said Rosenker. "These satellite images are good points to look for - they're good starting points - but we haven't been able to lay eyes on them. We haven't been able to touch them, to be able to verify that what we have from those satellite photographs are actual pieces of the aircraft."

Rosenker presided over the search for Air France Flight 447, which plunged into the Atlantic Ocean in June 2012, killing all 228 people on board. After an exhaustive effort, that jet was eventually found roughly 2,000 feet underwater, and Rosenker said the depth of the ocean areas currently being searched for Flight 370 - about 13,000 feet - could complicate the search "a great deal."

  • Jake Miller

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