One day after French radar detected potential wreckage in the area, Australian and Chinese military planes spotted debris in the southern Indian Ocean that authorities believe might belong to missing Flight 370.
The Chinese aircraft reported seeing two large objects from an altitude of about 3,200 feet.
"The crew of a Chinese IL-76 plane spotted some suspicious objects in the southern Indian Ocean on Monday," Xinhua, the official Chinese news agency, reported. "There were two quite large objects, and some small, white fragments scattered within a radius of several kilometers."
The Australian plane found two large objects in the same search zone, one circular blue piece and the other an orange rectangle. The objects were separate from those found by the Chinese crew.
In a statement to parliament, Australian Prime Minster Tony Abbott warned that the pieces might not be from Flight 370.
"They could be flotsam," he said. "Nevertheless we are hopeful that we can recover these objects soon and that they will take us a step closer to resolving this tragic mystery."
Chinese officials echoed Abbot's cautious optimism.
"We are still racing against time," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said, according to the Associated Press. "As long as there is a glimmer of hope, our search efforts will carry on."
Ships from Australia and planes from Japan and the United States are en route to the areas to try to locate the possible debris.
[Image via AP]