Aircraft have resumed their search to locate two objects detected by Australian satellites that may be debris from missing flight MH370. The area is located in a remote corner of the southern Indian Ocean.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said five planes would scour the southern Indian Ocean Friday to try and find two objects detected by satellite imagery, with one as large as 24 meters (79 feet) in size.
Australia, which Malaysia tasked with heading the southern Indian Ocean search, spotted the objects on Thursday, floating about 1,600 km (1,000 miles) off the southwestern coast of Perth.
AMSA said the area is so remote that the planes will only have an “endurance of approximately two hours of search time," once they reach the site.
The five aircraft are to include three Royal Australian Air Force P3 Orion planes, a civilian Gulfstream jet and a US Navy P-8 Poseidon aircraft. The planes are to scour more than 13,000 square miles (35,000 square kilometers) of ocean.
A Norwegian merchant ship has also joined the search with another merchant ship on the way, AMSA said. Australia's HMAS Success, which is capable of retrieving any wreckage, is still some days away.
Malaysia and Australia called the images a "credible" lead in the almost two-week-long hunt for the Boeing 777 that vanished en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 passengers and crew on board on March 8.
The initial search for the objects on Thursday with four planes was hampered by low visibility.
"The weather conditions were such that we were unable to see for very much of the flight," Royal Australian Air Force Flight Lieutenant Chris Birrer told reporters.
New Zealand Air Commodore Mike Yardley, commenting to TV3 on the mission flown by one of its aircraft on Thursday, warned that "there's a lot of debris out there in the ocean."
"Our crews picked up debris out there that was not part of the aircraft," he said.
While the detected objects raised new hope of finding the plane, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott cautioned once again that officials were looking in "a remarkably isolated location in very deep and inaccessible ocean."
"Nevertheless, we are throwing all the resources we can at it," he said late Thursday after arriving in Papua New Guinea for a visit.
"We will do everything we humanly can to try to get to the bottom of this,” he added.
hc/ccp (Reuters, AFP, AP)