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Australia hopeful as more items pulled from sea

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An object floats in the southern Indian Ocean in this picture taken from a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion aircraft searching for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, Saturday, March 29, 2014. A warship with an aircraft black box detector was set to depart Australia on Sunday to join the search for the missing Malaysian jetliner, a day after ships plucked objects from the Indian Ocean to determine whether they were related to the missing plane. None were confirmed to be from the plane, leaving searchers with no sign of the jet more than three weeks after it disappeared. (AP Photo/Jason Reed, Pool)

An object floats in the southern Indian Ocean in this picture taken from a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion aircraft searching for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, Saturday, March 29, 2014. A warship with an aircraft black box detector was set to depart Australia on Sunday to join the search for the missing Malaysian jetliner, a day after ships plucked objects from the Indian Ocean to determine whether they were related to the missing plane. None were confirmed to be from the plane, leaving searchers with no sign of the jet more than three weeks after it disappeared. (AP Photo/Jason Reed, Pool)

A Royal New Zealand Air Force crew member looks into the southern Indian Ocean from a P-3K2 Orion aircraft searches for missing Malaysian Airlines flight 370, Saturday, March 29, 2014. A day after the search for the Malaysian jetliner shifted to a new area of the Indian Ocean, ships on Saturday plucked objects from the sea to determine whether they were related to the missing jet. None were confirmed to be from the plane, leaving searchers with no sign of the jet three weeks after it disappeared. (AP Photo/Jason Reed, Pool)

Reporters try to interview a new batch of Chinese relatives of passengers on board the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 as they arrive at a hotel in Subang Jaya, Malaysia, Sunday March 30, 2014. A new batch of relatives from China arrived Sunday to seek answers from Malaysia’s government as to what happened to their loved ones on board the missing Malaysian jetliner. The writing on shirts at center reads “Praying that MH370 returns home safely.” (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

Reporters chase a new batch of Chinese relatives of passengers on board the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 as they arrive at a hotel in Subang Jaya, Malaysia, Sunday March 30, 2014. A new batch of relatives from China arrived Sunday to seek answers from Malaysia’s government as to what happened to their loved ones on board the missing Malaysian jetliner. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

Newly arrived Chinese relatives of passengers on board the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 walk at a hotel in Subang Jaya, Malaysia, Sunday, March 30, 2014. Several dozen Chinese relatives of passengers on Flight 370 arrived in Malaysia Sunday to demand more information about what happened to the airliner that has been missing for more than three weeks, saying there has not been enough information on what happened to their loved ones. The writing on the shirts reads “Praying that MH370 returns home safely.” (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

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PERTH, Australia (AP) — Australia’s prime minister said Sunday he was hopeful a clue will emerge soon to narrow the hunt for Flight 370, as more objects were pulled from the southern Indian Ocean and checked to see if they were part of the plane that went missing more than three weeks ago.

But so far, even though more ships are scouring the area off western Australia, none of the recovered items has been connected to the Malaysia Airlines plane that crashed March 8 with 239 people on board.

“My understanding from this morning is that there has been no discrete debris associated with the flight,” Australian Navy Commodore Peter Leavy told reporters Sunday.

In Sydney, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott described the “intensifying search effort” as positive because objects “have been recovered from the ocean.”

The Australian Maritimes Safety Authority said 10 planes took part in the search Sunday, leaving in staggered times from the western city of Perth. Eight ships were on the scene, including the Australian navy supply ship HMAS Success, which is to store any wreckage found.

The ships are trying to locate and identify the objects sighted by aircraft over the past two days.

Leavy, the commander of the search task force, said the operation was made more difficult because the particular area being combed is in a shipping lane littered with potentially more floating objects.

AMSA said there were light showers and low cloud in the area, but not enough to disrupt the search, which is about 2 ½ hours flying time from Perth, allowing the planes five hours of searching time before they have to return to base.

Among the objects spotted over the last day were three by a Chinese Ilyushin IL-76 plane that were white, red and orange, according to a report from China’s official Xinhua News Agency said. The missing Boeing 777′s exterior was red, white, blue and gray.

In Kuala Lumpur, several dozen Chinese relatives of passengers on Flight 370 arrived Sunday to demand to meet top officials for more information about what happened to the airliner.

Two-thirds of the 227 passengers aboard the plane en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur were Chinese, and Beijing has urged Malaysia to be more open about the investigation.

One of the relatives, who gave only his surname, Xu, said that the relatives want to meet officials “at the very highest levels.”

Newly analyzed satellite data shifted the search zone on Friday, raising expectations that searchers may be closer to getting physical evidence that the plane crashed into the Indian Ocean. The change came after analysts determined that the Boeing 777 may have been traveling faster than earlier estimates and would therefore have run out of fuel sooner.

That would

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