The search and recovery operation for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 will be a race against time today, with ships and planes attempting to locate debris before an expected deterioration in the weather.
Six military aircraft, five civil aircraft and five ships will take part in today’s search, after new satellite images released yesterday found about 122 objects floating in the southern Indian Ocean.
HMAS Success remains in the search area about 2500 kilometres southwest of Perth and was joined by four Chinese ships — Xue Long, Kuulunshan, Haikon and Qiandaohu — in the search area.
Two Royal Australian Air Force P3 Orions, a Japanese Gulfstream jet, a US Navy P8 Poseidon and a Japanese P3 Orion will fly sorties throughout the day.
Five civil aircraft will fly to the search area.
The objects detected by a French satellite, measuring from one metre to 23 metres long, were picked up four days ago and sent to the Australian search co-ordinators yesterday.
Some of the objects appeared to be bright in colour and possibly of solid material.
It is the biggest field of possible debris spotted so far in the multinational search for the Boeing 777-200 and is the “most credible lead” so far.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority said three objects were sighted yesterday — two of them were spotted from a civilian aircraft in the search and were likely to be rope and the third, seen from a NZ P3 Orion, was a blue object.
Details of the French satellite images were revealed last night by Malaysia’s Defence and acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein.
He said the images were taken by Airbus Defence and Space, in France, on March 23.
Mr Hussein said the images were analysed by the Malaysian Remote Sensing Agency on Tuesday. They found that in an area of ocean about 400 square kilometres there were 122 potential objects, about 2557km from Perth.
It is the fourth set of satellite images showing potential debris since March 16 but so far none has been psychically located or picked up from the ocean.
The latest images are not far from the objects seen on Australian and Chinese satellites on March 16 and 18.
Mr Hussein said it was now “imperative that we link the debris to MH370.”
“This will enable us to further reduce the search area and locate more debris from the plane,” he said, adding this would enable the search to move into the next phase of deep sea surveillance and salvage.