"Crowdsourcing" volunteers around the world are scouring new satellite images to try and locate the Malaysia Airlines flight that disappeared off the radar over the weekend.
The ill-fated plane, which was carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew members, departed from Kuala Lumpur Saturday but lost contact with air traffic control and disappeared from radar screens about an hour into its trip to Beijing.
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In what officials are calling an "unprecedented aviation mystery," the plane issued no distress call but evidence suggests it may have turned back on its route before completely disappearing from the radar-tracking monitors.
Interpol confirmed earlier this week that two passengers boarded the plane with fake passports. The Associated Press identified the travelers
as Christian Kozel of Austria and Luigi Maraldi of Italy.
Now, a U.S. satellite company has launched a crowdsourcing movement to try and find the missing plane using images gathered from 400 miles above the earth.
"This is a real needle-in-the-haystack problem, except the haystack is in the middle of the ocean," Luke Barrington of commercial satellite firm DigitalGlobe told CNN affiliate KMGH
. "I will ask you to mark anything that looks interesting, any signs of wreckage or life rafts."
"In many cases, the areas covered are so large, or the things we're looking for are so hard to find, that without the help of hundreds of thousands of people online, we'd never be able to find them," Barrington said.
One Good Samaritan perusing the images thought he spotted what appeared to be a plane in the water earlier this week.
"At first, I skipped past it, thinking, 'Nah. No way I would find anything that quickly,'" Mike Seberger told CNN
on Tuesday. "But then I kept scrolling back to it and thinking to myself, 'It does resemble a plane.'"
"I played with the zoom on my browser a bit, and took a screenshot at 200 percent, which is what I uploaded [to CNN iReport]," Seberger said. "Looking at it objectively, the shape of 'my' object appears plane-like and the dimensions are consistent with a 777-200. That said, I feel it is more likely to be a boat."
The Chinese government also released its own series of satellite images Wednesday via the official Xinhua News Agency.
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