SYDNEY, March 20 — Australia expects to make a quick deliberation on whether possible debris seen at sea is indeed from flight MH370, a report said today, but a first spotter flight failed to locate anything in bad weather.
Authorities should know something definite on the possible discovery of debris from the missing Malaysia Airlines plane within “two or three days”, the Australian Associated Press quoted Defence Minister David Johnston as saying in Jakarta.
But a Royal Australian Air Force Orion sent today to investigate possible wreckage from the Boeing 777 failed to spot debris, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said.
The P-3 surveillance aircraft was sent to the Indian Ocean search zone some 2,500 kilometres (1,550 miles) southwest of Perth after Australia revealed the presence of two objects at sea possibly related to flight MH370.
“RAAF P3 crew unable to locate debris. Cloud & rain limited visibility,” AMSA said on its Twitter feed. “Further aircraft to continue search for #MH370.”
Three more long-range surveillance planes — one each from Australia, New Zealand and the United States — were due to inspect the area where satellite images taken Sunday showed the two objects, one as large as 24 metres (79 feet) in size.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott told parliament the images represented “new and credible information” but stressed that any link with flight MH370 had still to be confirmed. Malaysia also said the information offered a “credible lead”, but stressed it was too early to tell.
This “requires us overnight to verify and corroborate it”, Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein told reporters in Kuala Lumpur, adding that the overall search and rescue effort would continue in the meantime.
Currently, there are 18 ships, 29 aircraft and six ship-borne helicopters deployed in the search along two corridors stretching from the southern Indian Ocean to Central Asia. — AFP