Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced on Thursday afternoon that a Royal Australian Air Force Orion was being diverted to check on two objects that may be the wreckage of MH370 which disappeared on March 8 on a flight to Beijing.
Mr Abbott said that three more aircraft including the P8 would be over the area later on Thursday.
Mr Abbott said he has informed Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak of the developments.
However he warned against drawing any premature conclusions or hopes on the search.
“We must keep in mind the task of locating these objects will be extremely difficult and it may turn out that they are not related to the search for flight MH370,” Mr Abbott said.
One of the objects is 24m in length.
Here is the statement from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority:
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority is coordinating the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines aircraft, with assistance from the Australian Defence Force, the New Zealand Air Force and the United States Navy.
AMSA’s Rescue Coordination Centre Australia has received satellite imagery of objects possibly related to the search for the missing aircraft, flight MH370.
RCC Australia received an expert assessment of commercial satellite imagery on Thursday.
The images were captured by satellite. They may not be related to the aircraft.
The assessment of these images was provided by the Australian Geospatial-Intelligence Organisation as a possible indication of debris south of the search area that has been the focus of the search operation.
The imagery is in the vicinity of the search area defined and searched in the past two days.
Four aircraft have been reoriented to the area 2500 kilometres south-west of Perth as a result of this information.
A Royal Australian Air Force Orion aircraft arrived in the area about 1.50pm.
A further three aircraft have been tasked by RCC Australia to the area later today, including a Royal New Zealand Air Force Orion and United States Navy P8 Poseidon aircraft.
The Poseidon aircraft is expected to arrive at 3pm. The second RAAF Orion is expected to depart RAAF Base Pearce at 6pm.
The New Zealand Orion is due to depart at 8pm.
A RAAF C-130 Hercules aircraft has been tasked by RCC Australia to drop datum marker buoys.
These marker buoys assist RCC Australia by providing information about water movement to assist in drift modelling. They will provide an ongoing reference point if the task of relocating the objects becomes protracted.
A merchant ship that responded to a shipping broadcast issued by RCC Australia on Monday is expected to arrive in the area about 6pm.