Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (CNN) - Two objects spotted in the southern Indian Ocean may be debris from the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, Australian authorities said Thursday, fueling hopes of a breakthrough in an international search of unprecedented scale.
The objects are indistinct but of "reasonable size," with the largest about 24 meters (79 feet) across, said John Young, general manager of emergency response for the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.
They appear to be "awash with water and bobbing up and down" in an area 2,500 kilometers (1,500 miles) southwest of Australia's west coast, he said.
"If that piece of the plane is that big, maybe it's the tail section" said David Gallo, one of the leader of the search for Air France Flight 447, which crashed in the Atlantic Ocean in 2009. But he warned that the size gave him a degree of concern.
"It's a big piece of aircraft to have survived something like this," he said.
The tail height of a Boeing 777, the model of the missing Malaysian plane, is 60 feet.
The announcement raised the prospect of finding parts of the plane amid a huge search that is now in its 13th day. The plane vanished over Southeast Asia on March 8, and previous reports of debris found in the sea have turned out to be red herrings.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott first announced the discovery to the House of Representatives in Canberra on Thursday. Australian search teams have been at the forefront of the hunt for the missing plane in the remote southern Indian Ocean.
"There have been so many false leads and so many starts and changes and then backtracking in the investigation," said Mary Schiavo, a CNN aviation analyst and former inspector general for the U.S. Department of Transportation. "He wouldn't have come forward and said if they weren't fairly certain."
But officials cautioned that there were no guarantees that the objects now being investigated would prove to be from the missing plane.