Malaysia says ocean objects are new lead in MH370 hunt

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - The discovery by satellite of two objects in the southern Indian Ocean is being treated as a lead in the search for a Malaysian airliner missing for 12 days, the top official in charge of the investigation said on Thursday.

"I can confirm we have a new lead...and I am meeting the Australian delegation now," acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein told reporters in Kuala Lumpur, where the investigation into the missing airliner is based.

He was speaking after Australia said it had sent aircraft to investigate two objects spotted by satellite floating in the sea.

"As we have been doing from day one, we have been following every single lead, and this time I just hope that it is a positive development," Hishammuddin said.

"I was told that assets have been deployed to the area to verify what has already been said earlier this morning, and we are waiting for some information. It is too early to say which area and whether it is in the sea," he said, adding he did not know what kind of possible debris was involved.

"Every lead is a hope. We want to verify, we want to corroborate."

Investigators hope to provide a further update within a few hours, he said.

(Reporting by Tim Hepher, A. Ananthalakshmi; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)