China sends ships to search area off Australia

Map shows search areas for missing Malaysia Airlines missing jet.; 3c x 5 inches; 146 mm x 127 mm;

BEIJING (AP) — China is sending three warships to join the search for possible pieces of a missing Malaysia Airlines plane in the southern Indian Ocean, the government said Friday.

The ships are en route to the area where a satellite image showed two large objects floating about 2,300 kilometers (1,400 miles) west of Australia, the National Maritime Search and Rescue Center said Friday.

It gave no indication when they might arrive at the remote site, but earlier Chinese news reports said the ships — the Kunlunshan, the Haikou and the Qiandaohu — were searching near the Indonesian island of Sumatra.

The center said a fourth Chinese vessel, the icebreaker Snow Dragon, is in the western Australian port of Perth following a trip to Antarctica and might join the search.