A Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion aircraft lands at
the RAAF Base Pearce near Perth yesterday. REUTERS/Jason
The search for the missing Malaysian airliner could be
hindered by deteriorating weather later today as more ships are
expected reach the area where a number of objects were spotted
A Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) Orion search aircraft
located 11 objects, including a fishing buoy, about 1600km
west of Perth yesterday.
Four other aircraft also spotted objects after the Australian
Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) yesterday moved the search
area north, to reflect the latest analysis from Malaysian air
The authority said one vessel, the Chinese maritime patrol
ship Haixun 1, had been on the scene to relocate objects from
first light today.
Six ships were expected to reach the search area today, but
they were due to arrive later in the day or after dark.
By then, the weather was expected to deteriorate, potentially
hindering the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight
However, AMSA said today's weather was initially expected to
be suitable for searching.
Eight aircraft would take part in the search today, including
the RNZAF Orion which spotted the objects yesterday. The New
Zealand plane was due to depart from Perth about 5pm NZT.
Air Vice-Marshal Kevin Short, who heads New Zealand's Joint
Forces, told a press conference in Wellington this morning
that the Orion had found 11 objects yesterday.
"Those objects turned out to be rectangular in shape, nothing
bigger than 1 metre, some of them down to half a metre in
size,'' he said.
The RNZAF Orion photographed the objects and dropped a
reference marker nearby. A Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF)
Orion then relocated the objects a short time later.
Air Vice-Marshal Short said the objects would have to be
retrieved by ships and examined in Perth before they could be
identified as coming from the missing plane.
"Our crew ... couldn't identify anything that would say it
was definitely from the Malaysian aircraft, and those images
are being analysed as well.
"I think the main issue is that those objects will have to be
picked up by a ship so they can physically examine them.''
Air Vice-Marshal Short would not speculate on what the
objects might be, but added that fuel tanks from wings,
composite materials and plastics from an aircraft would
"So it's not unusual to have that sort of thing on the
The objects were all close together, but others had been
found hundreds of miles away.
The RNZAF Orion has been searching with a new crew since
"They're pleased that for their first flight from taking over
from the previous crew that they've actually found these
objects, so their morale is very high,'' Air Vice-Marshal
"It is always good when we find something, we get quite
buoyant about that.''
AMSA said today's search area had been determined by applying
the effects of weather and currents to the analysis of likely
aircraft movements provided by Malaysian air crash
It said the objects of various colours spotted yesterday
could not be verified or discounted as being from MH370 until
they were relocated and recovered by ships
"It is not known how much flotsam, such as from fishing
activities, is ordinarily there. At least one distinctive
fishing object has been identified.''