Several brightly colored objects were spotted today by crews on board Chinese aircraft in the ongoing search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370, but it will take time for authorities to figure out if they are related to the missing plane.
The searchers aboard the Chinese aircraft Ilyushin IL-76 spotted three objects in the new designated search area that's located about 700 miles northeast of the previous search area in the Indian Ocean, according to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority. The plane made multiple passes but ships dispatched to the area have yet to reach the possible debris.
Searchers aboard an Australian P-3 Orion plane also sighted multiple objects and two ships in the area recovered a number of them, though none were confirmed to be related to the vanished plane. On Saturday crews searched an area of 97,298 square miles.
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Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said that they would continue to search even though the country had to fund its own part of the mission.
“We aren't counting the costs, we're just doing what needs to be done to try to get to the bottom of this mystery and that will go on. And I think we owe it to the people who were on board that plane,” he said. “This is Australia being a good, international citizen and I think that's what people expect of us and I think that's what we expect of ourselves."
Malaysian Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said that officials still hoped to find survivors days after families of the passengers on the missing plane criticized the local government for seemingly giving up.
“Even hoping against hope, no matter how remote, of course we will continue search for survivors,” said Hishammuddin.
The Malaysian government previously said that vanished Flight MH 370 would have “ended” in the southern Indian Ocean and Malaysia Airlines sent a text to family members saying “none of those on board survived.”
Hishammuddin made the announcement after meeting with families of the passengers at an airport in Kuala Lumpur. He told the Associated Press there was no new information about the objects that could confirm if they were related to the plane.
"I've got to wait to get the reports on whether they have retrieved those objects. ... Those will give us some indication," said Hishammuddin.
Family members have been waiting three weeks to see concrete evidence that the plane did indeed crash and that there were no survivors. Some family members told the Associated Press that waiting to know what happened to their loved ones was agonizing.
"This is the trauma of maybe he's dead, maybe he's not. Maybe he's still alive and we need to find him. Maybe he died within the first hour of the flight, and we don't know," Sarah Bajc, the American girlfriend of U.S. passenger Philip Wood, said in Beijing.
On Friday further analysis of radar data indicated the plane was traveling faster than previously estimated, resulting in it burning more fuel and shortening the distance it could have traveled south into the Indian Ocean, officials said.
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 was carrying 239 people when it disappeared three weeks ago on March 8.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.