Kuala Lumpur: Two objects possibly related to the missing Malaysian jetliner were today located by Australian plane in the remote part of the southern Indian Ocean and a ship is heading towards the area to retrieve them.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the objects have been located by an Australian P3 Orion aircraft about 2500km south-west of Perth on the 17th day of the multination search operations.
Abbott told Parliament the first object was grey or green and circular and the second was orange and rectangular.
Abbott said it was not known whether the objects were from Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, and could be flotsam.
Australian Navy ship HMAS Success is in the vicinity and hopes to reach the spot within hours to recover the objects.
Malaysia also confirmed the news with Prime Minister Najib Razak tweeting, “Just received a call from Australian PM @tonyabbott -2 objects were located & will be retrieved in the next few hours.”
The objects identified by the RAAF Orion are separate to the objects reported by the Chinese Ilyushin IL- 76 earlier today.
The objects reported by the Chinese were also within today’s search area. The US Navy P8 Poseidon aircraft sought to relocate the objects reported by the Chinese aircraft but were unable to do so.
The US Navy P8 is remains in the search area, while a second RAAF P3 and a Japanese P3 are en route to their assigned search areas.
Malaysian Defence and Transport Minister Hishamuddin Hussein two unidentified orange objects and a white drum had been sighted but had no other details.
Emphasising that search for Boeing 777-200 will continue, Hishamuddin said 18500 sq nautical metres had been searched so far and the Air France crash team working closely with Malaysia.
He said police have interviewed more than 100 people, including families of both the pilot and co-pilot.
“As far as the transcript is concerned, the technical committee is considering releasing it,” he said.
He also said that MH370 was carrying wooden pallets. However, there is as yet no evidence that these are related to the wooden pallets reportedly sighted in the Australian search area.
The hunt for jet – that disappeared from radar screens an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur on March 8 with 239 people on board, including five Indians, an Indo-Canadian and 154 Chinese nations – was intensified with India, China and Japan deploying surveillance aircraft yesterday.