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France today provided new satellite images of possible debris of the Malaysian airliner deep in the south Indian Ocean, even as search for the jet which mysteriously disappeared 16 days ago intensified with India, China and Japan deploying surveillance aircraft.
In another possible lead, Australia said it has spotted a wooden cargo pallet in the southern Indian Ocean, expressing "increasing hope" of a breakthrough in locating the jet missing since March 8.
The pallet along with belts or straps was spotted by one of the Australian aircraft deployed to hunt for the Beijing-bound Flight MH370 that disappered from radar screen, one hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur.
"This morning, Malaysia received new satellite images from the French authorities showing potential objects in the vicinity of the southern corridor. Malaysia immediately relayed these images to the Australian rescue co-ordination centre," Malaysia Transport Ministry said in a statement.
This is the third set of images in a week of possible debris of the Malaysia Airlines plane in the area.
It has not yet been established whether the French satellite images zeroed in the area where Chinese imageries spotted some floating objects.
Earlier Australia and China also provided satellite images showing possible wreckage in a remote area of the Indian Ocean, however nothing concrete has been found by aircraft hovering over the area.
Though there is little doubt that the Boeing 777-200 has plunged deep in the remote parts of the ocean off Australia, what has baffled aviation authorities is that no trace of the plane has been found despite putting into use hi-tech surveillance systems.
More planes today joined the hunt in the desolate area in the Indian Ocean, about 2,500 kilometres southwest of Perth, where three days of scouring yielded little results.
The Australian rescue co-ordination centre deployed eight aircraft -- four military and four civilian -- to the southern corridor today.
One Indian Navy P8 Poseidon and one Indian Air Force C-130J Super Hercules left Malaysia's Subang airport today to join the search and rescue operation in the northern part of the southern corridor, which is being led by Indonesia.
They arrived in Kuala Lumpur on March 21 following a commitment from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to assist Malaysia and render all possible assistance to it in locating the missing Boeing 777-200 with 239 people, including five Indians and an Indo-Canadian, on board.
"New Chinese satellite imagery does seem to suggest at least one large object down there, consistent with the