Amid mixed messages, Malaysia airliner search resumes

New video of recovered objects in search
New video of recovered objects in search

    JUST WATCHED

    New video of recovered objects in search

MUST WATCH

New video of recovered objects in search 01:30

Story highlights

  • The search resumes, but bad weather a threat
  • Ships retrieved new debris Saturday, but no objects linked to missing plane, Australia says
  • Malaysian official: "I told the families I cannot give them false hope"
  • The search for missing Flight 370 has gone on for three weeks

The search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 resumed Sunday, but stormy weather may cause problems, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said.

A Chinese aircraft took off at 6:20 a.m. local time (6:20 p.m. ET). Other aircraft, including a South Korean P-3 Orion and a U.S. P-8 Poseidon, were preparing to depart from Perth.

Ten planes will fly over 123,167 square miles (319,000 square kilometers) located about 1,150 miles (1,850 kilometers) west of Perth, the AMSA said.

Weather in the search area is forecast to worsen with light showers and low clouds, though search operations are expected to continue, the authority said.

Eight ships will join the search by the end of the day, including the Australian Ocean Shield, which will be fitted with a "black box" detector and an autonomous underwater vehicle, AMSA said. All ships will seek to locate and identify objects sighted by aircraft over the past two days.

Search experts said the clock is ticking.

Michael Kay, a former adviser to the UK Ministry of Defence, said on CNN that the batteries on the flight data recorder, sometimes called the black box, are designed to last only about 30 days. The plane disappeared March 8 -- three weeks ago.

Eight planes and a number of ships scoured some 97,000 square miles of water Saturday for signs of the plane, with aircraft reporting sightings of objects similar to those reported Friday, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said.

Two vessels -- one of them a Chinese warship -- retrieved objects, "but so far no objects confirmed to be related to MH370 have been recovered," the authority said.

Crew members aboard a Chinese plane dropped buoys to mark three suspected debris sites, China's state-run CCTV reported.

"After entering the search area, the airlifter flew for about 20 minutes," crew member Wang Zhenwu told the television network. "We found an L-shaped debris in orange color right below the plane's right wing. Then within around three minutes, we found a stripe-shaped object. We immediately reported our findings to the captain."

The captain, Liu Jun, said buoys containing dye were dropped on each of the suspected sites, according to CCTV.

Relatives complaining

Relatives of the 239 people on board the plane have complained about receiving mixed messages.

Earlier this week, they heard this: "All lives are lost."

But Saturday, a Malaysian official met with relatives and then told reporters he had not closed the door on the hope of relatives that survivors may exist among the 239 people aboard the Boeing 777-200 ER that went missing March 8.

"Even hoping against hope, no matter how remote, of course, we are praying and we will continue our search for the possible survivors," said Hishammuddin Hussein, Malaysia's acting transportation minister.

"More than that, I told the families I cannot give them false hope. The best we can do is pray and that we must be sensitive to them that, as long as there is even a remote chance of a survivor, we will pray and do whatever it takes."

Chinese relatives in Kuala Lumpur told CNN that Malaysian authorities are restricting their movement and access to information

When a briefing for them was not held Saturday, the Chinese relatives said they were deterred from attending a briefing for Maylasian relatives. They ended up talking to a Malaysia Airlines official after the briefing.

'They're still alive'

In Beijing on Saturday, some of the relatives of the missing vented their anguish in the streets.

"They're all still alive, my son and everyone on board!" yelled Wen Wancheng, 63, whose only son was among the passengers. "The plane is still there, too! They're hiding it."

He held aloft a banner that read: "Son, mom and dad's hearts are torn to pieces. Come home soon!"

Many relatives doubtless remember the speculation from early in the search that the plane may have landed somewhere. They implored Hishammuddin to redouble the efforts, and he said Malaysian authorities would do so.

"What they want is a commitment on our part to continue the search, and that I have given," Hishammuddin said. "For me, as the minister responsible, this is the hardest part of my life, at the moment," he told reporters.

New details in Flight 370 search
New details in Flight 370 search

    JUST WATCHED

    New details in Flight 370 search

MUST WATCH

New details in Flight 370 search 05:38
PLAY VIDEO
Transport official reassures families
Transport official reassures families

    JUST WATCHED

    Transport official reassures families

MUST WATCH

Transport official reassures families 01:29
PLAY VIDEO
Countries unite in search for Flight 370
Countries unite in search for Flight 370

    JUST WATCHED

    Countries unite in search for Flight 370

MUST WATCH

Countries unite in search for Flight 370 02:36
PLAY VIDEO
Missing Malaysia flight stirs old memories
Missing Malaysia flight stirs old memories

    JUST WATCHED

    Missing Malaysia flight stirs old memories

MUST WATCH

Missing Malaysia flight stirs old memories 02:58
PLAY VIDEO

"Miracles do happen, remote or otherwise, and that is the hope that the families want me to convey -- not only to the Malaysian government, MAS (Malaysia Airlines), but also to the world at large," he said.

He said the effort was still to find survivors.

Sea objects

On Saturday that meant hunting again for plane debris in an ocean awash in debris -- including odds and ends from passing ships -- in hopes that among it are pieces of the jet.

After the latest data analysis, experts says they believe that Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which disappeared three weeks ago, ended up in the southern Indian Ocean.

Investigators concluded this week that, during the flight's initial phase, the plane was traveling faster -- and therefore burning fuel faster -- than they had thought. Authorities have concluded that it could not have traveled as far south as they had thought earlier.

The new search area is 1,100 kilometers (680 miles) northeast of the previous one and closer to Australia's coast, so it's easier to reach. It's also marked by calmer waters.

Ships plowed the waters of the search area and eight planes searched from above.

"Unfortunately, we didn't find anything of significance out there," flight captain Russell Adams said after returning to Perth.

Malaysia plane saga: Your questions answered

Pieces of debris spotted Friday were hundreds of miles away from each other, but given the ocean conditions and the time passed since the airplane's purported crash, they could be part of the same object.

Friday's sightings included 11 small objects spotted by a military P-3 plane. CNN's Kyung Lah, who went out on a U.S. Navy P-8 search plane Friday, said its crew spotted white objects, orange rope and a blue bag.

"At one point, sure, everybody on board got a little excited, but it's impossible to tell from that distance what anything is," she said.

If and when the jet is found, the key question would remain: Why did it go down? That may not be answered until investigators retrieve the aircraft and try, literally, to piece together what happened to it.

Vast, shifting search

The shifting hunt for Flight 370 has spanned vast bodies of water and continents.

It started in the South China Sea between Malaysia and Vietnam, where the plane went out of contact with air traffic controllers.

When authorities learned of radar data suggesting the plane had turned westward across the Malay Peninsula after losing contact, they expanded the search into the Strait of Malacca.

When those efforts proved fruitless, the search spread north into the Andaman Sea and northern Indian Ocean.

It then ballooned dramatically after Malaysia announced March 15 that satellite data showed the plane could have flown along either of two huge arcs, one stretching northwest into the Asian land mass, the other southwest into the Indian Ocean.

The search area at that point reached nearly 3 million square miles.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said that further analysis of the data led authorities to conclude the plane went down in the southern Indian Ocean, far from land.

Malaysian officials then told the families of those on board that nobody would have survived. On Saturday, after confronting relatives' grief, they made that conclusion seem less final.

'Unspeakable challenge' for families

Mystery surfaces pain of 1977 tragedy

Questions linger

Did flammable cargo doom flight?

How they're searching for debris

        Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

      • nr intv moni basu husbands quiet suffering flight 370_00020822.jpg

        An empty space on earth

        His wife never came home from her flight on MH370, and now K.S. Narendran is left to imagine the worst of possible truths without knowing.
      • This handout photo taken on April 7, 2014 and released on April 9, 2014 by Australian Defence shows Maritime Warfare Officer, Sub Lieutenant Ryan Penrose watching HMAS Success as HMAS Perth approaches for a replenishment at sea while searching for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean. Two fresh signals have been picked up Australian ship Ocean Shield in the search for missing Malaysian flight MH370, raising hopes that wreckage will be found within days even as black box batteries start to expire.

        Is this the sound of the crash?

        Was the sound of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 striking the water captured by ocean devices used to listen for signs of nuclear blasts?
      •  A crew member of a Royal New Zealand Airforce (RNZAF) P-3K2-Orion aircraft helps to look for objects during the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in flight over the Indian Ocean on April 13, 2014 off the coast of Perth, Australia. S

        Search back to square one

        What was believed to be the best hope of finding the missing plane is now being called a false hope. Rene Marsh explains.
      • Caption:A Chinese relative of passengers on the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 uses a lighter as she prays at the Metro Park Hotel in Beijing on April 8, 2014. The hunt for physical evidence that the Malaysia Airlines jet crashed in the Indian Ocean more than three weeks ago has turned up nothing, despite a massive operation involving seven countries and repeated sightings of suspected debris. AFP PHOTO/WANG ZHAO (Photo credit should read WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images)

        Bring in the lawyers

        Involved parties, including the manufacturer Boeing, are bracing for a long public relations siege.
      • The painstaking search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 got a vote of confidence Friday that the effort is headed in the right direction, but officials noted that much work remains.
Credit: 	CNN

        Pings likely not from Flight 370

        Official: The four acoustic pings at the center of the search for Flight 370 are no longer believed to have come from the plane's black boxes.
      • INDIAN OCEAN (April 14, 2014) -- Operators aboard ADF Ocean Shield move U.S. Navy's Bluefin-21 into position for deployment, April 14. Using side scan sonar, the Bluefin will descend to a depth of between 4,000 and 4,500 meters, approximately 35 meters above the ocean floor. It will spend up to 16 hours at this depth collecting data, before potentially moving to other likely search areas. Joint Task Force 658 is currently supporting Operation Southern Indian Ocean, searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. (U.S. Navy video by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Peter D. Blair/RELEASED)

        Underwater search on hold

        The underwater search for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane will effectively be put on hold this week, and may not resume until August at the earliest.
      • Movie-makers say they have recruited leading Hollywood technicians to bring their experience to mid-air flight sequences.

        An MH370 movie already?

        Movie-makers in Cannes have announced they're making a thriller based on the disappearance of Malaysian flight MH370.
      • The story of the search

        The search for the missing Boeing 777 has gone on for eight weeks now. CNN's David Molko looks back at this difficult, emotional assignment.