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Australia: Satellite clues to jet mystery elusive

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A monorail passenger train passes by a giant electronic screen displaying messages for passengers aboard a missing Malaysia Airlines plane, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Saturday, March 22, 2014. Six Australian planes took off Saturday for a third day of scouring the desolate southern Indian Ocean for possible parts of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, now lost for two full weeks. (AP Photo/Lai Seng Sin)

A monorail passenger train passes by a giant electronic screen displaying messages for passengers aboard a missing Malaysia Airlines plane, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Saturday, March 22, 2014. Six Australian planes took off Saturday for a third day of scouring the desolate southern Indian Ocean for possible parts of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, now lost for two full weeks. (AP Photo/Lai Seng Sin)

A Muslim boy wearing a T-shirt printing with a message for the missing Malaysia Airlines, flight MH370, is carried by a woman at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, Malaysia, Saturday, March 22, 2014. Six Australian planes took off Saturday for a third day of scouring the desolate southern Indian Ocean for possible parts of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, now lost for two full weeks. (AP Photo/Joshua Paul)

A relative of Chinese passengers aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines, flight MH370, protests after Malaysian government representatives leave after a briefing in Beijing, China, Saturday, March 22, 2014. A satellite spotted two large objects in the desolate southern Indian Ocean earlier this week, raising hopes of finding the Boeing 777 that disappeared March 8 with 239 people on board, although nothing was spotted in a sea search over the last two days. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

A traveler wearing a T-shirt printing with messages for the missing Malaysia Airlines, flight MH370, at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, Malaysia, Saturday, March 22, 2014. Six Australian planes took off Saturday for a third day of scouring the desolate southern Indian Ocean for possible parts of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, now lost for two full weeks. (AP Photo/Joshua Paul)

Japanese Air Self-Defense Force’s Capt. Junichi Tanoue, left, co-pilot Ryutaro Hamahira, second from left, and engineer Noriyuki Yamanouchi, second from right, scan the ocean aboard a C130 aircraft while it flies over the southern search area in the southeastern Indian Ocean, 200 to 300 kilometers (124 to 186 miles) south of Sumatra, Indonesia, Friday, March 21, 2014. Search planes scoured a remote patch of the Indian Ocean but came back empty-handed Friday after looking for any sign of the missing Malaysia Airlines jet, another disappointing day in one of the world’s biggest aviation mysteries. (AP Photo/Koji Ueda)

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PERTH, Australia (AP) — As planes spent a third day hunting for two large objects spotted by satellite in the southern Indian Ocean, Australian officials on Saturday said they were far from giving up on what remains the strongest lead in the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

Two military planes from China arrived in Perth to help search a remote stretch of ocean about 2,500 kilometers (1,550 miles) to the southwest. Australian, New Zealand and U.S. planes were already involved, two Japanese planes will arrive Sunday, and ships were in the area or on their way.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, on an official visit to Papua New Guinea, said weather hampered the search earlier but conditions were improving.

“There are aircraft and vessels from other nations that are joining this particular search because tenuous though it inevitably is, this is nevertheless the first credible evidence of anything that has happened to Flight MH370,” Abbott said.

A satellite spotted two large objects in the area earlier this week, raising hopes of finding the Boeing 777, which disappeared March 8 with 239 people on board less than an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur.

One of the objects was 24 meters (almost 80 feet) in length and the other was 5 meters (15 feet). The objects could be unrelated to the plane; one possibility is that they fell off one of the cargo vessels that travel in the area.

Warren Truss, Australia’s acting prime minister while Abbott is traveling abroad, said a complete search could take a long time.

“It is a very remote area, but we intend to continue the search until we’re absolutely satisfied that further searching would be futile — and that day is not in sight,” he said.

“If there’s something there to be found, I’m confident that this search effort will locate it,” Truss said from the base near Perth that is serving as a staging area for search aircraft.

Aircraft involved in the search include two ultra-long-range commercial jets and four P3 Orions, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said.

Because the search area is a four-hour flight from land, the Orions can search for only about two hours before they must fly back. The commercial jets can stay for five hours before heading back to the base.

Two merchant ships were in the area, and the HMAS Success, a navy supply ship, was due to arrive late Saturday afternoon.

Australian maritime officials also were checking for updated satellite imagery. The satellite images that show the objects were taken March 16, but the search in the area did not start until Thursday because it took time to analyze them.

The Chinese planes that arrived in Perth on Saturday were expected to begin searching on Sunday. A small flotilla of ships from China will also join the hunt, along with a refueling vessel that will allow ships to stay in the search area for a long time, Truss said.

The missing plane, which had been bound for Beijing, carried 154 Chinese. In the Chinese capital on Saturday, relatives of the passengers rose up in anger at the end of a brief meeting with Malaysia Airlines and Malaysian government officials.

“You can’t leave here! We want to know what the reality is!” they shouted in frustration over what they saw as officials’ refusal

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