A Thai satellite has detected 300 floating objects in the southern Indian Ocean where an international search is under way for a missing Malaysian jet liner, Thailand's Geo Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (GISDA) said.
The objects were spotted around 2,700 km (1,680 miles) southwest of Perth by the satellite "Thaichote" on March 24, the GISDA said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Chinese insurance companies have started paying compensation to the families of passengers aboard a missing Malaysia Airlines plane presumed crashed in the southern Indian Ocean, state news agency Xinhua said on Thursday.
The families of seven passengers received 4.17 million yuan ($671,600) in compensation on Tuesday, China Life, the country's largest insurance company, was quoted by Xinhua as saying. China Life said it had 32 clients on board the flight and estimated its total compensation at around 9 million yuan.
"China Life is deeply grieved at the news and will ensure compensation and all other related services are fully implemented," Xinhua quoted an unnamed company spokesman as saying.
New China Life Insurance Co. Ltd. will compensate the families of nine clients on board the flight with about 1 million yuan, Zhang Hongxia, a public relations official from the firm, told Reuters by telephone.
Shanghai-based China Pacific Insurance Co., Ltd. said it had offered its first compensation payment of 525,000 yuan ($84,500) as of Wednesday, Xinhua said.
Sunshine Insurance will compensate 500,000 yuan to one of its clients and his family, a woman surnamed Zhang from the firm said.
China Life and China Pacific Insurance could not be reached for comment.
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 is thought to have crashed on March 8 with the loss of all 239 people aboard after flying thousands of miles off course. More than 150 of the passengers were Chinese.
Meanwhile, state news agency Xinhua cited China's special envoy Zhang Yesui as saying that China is doing its best to push Malaysia to coordinate the international search effort for a missing Malaysian aircraft.
Zhang added that China will also continue to intensify its search efforts for the plane, which went missing on March 8 while on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
However, on Thursday, the Australian body in charge of the search, AMSA, said the search for the missing jetliner had been called off in the area around 2,500 kilometers south-west of Perth, notorious for large waves and strong westerly winds known as the Roaring Forties.
"All planes are returning to Perth & ships are leaving search area," the agency said on its Twitter feed.
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