The search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
The search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. Australian Defence

Flight MH370:'We owe it to families to keep searching': PM

PRIME Minister Tony Abbott says authorities are a long way from abandoning the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

"We owe it to the families. WE owe it to everyone who travels by air. We owe it to the governments who had citizens on that aircraft,'' Mr Abbott said.

"We owe it to the wider world which has been transfixed by this mystery for three weeks now."

"We can keep searching for quite some time to come."

"The intensity of our search and the magnitude of our operations is increasing, not decreasing."

Mr Abbott was in Perth today to thank those involved in the massive search effort.

The ABC reported earlier that an Australian Orion aircraft identified several orange objects in the southern Indian Ocean in what is being described as "the most promising leads" in the search.

Crew on board the aircraft spotted the objects, each greater than two metres in size, in a five-nautical-mile area within the search zone.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) says yesterday's weather in the area was "reasonable" with reported visibility greater than 10 kilometres.

Flight Lieutenant Russell Adams says he is hopeful of finding more objects if favourable conditions continue.

"For my crew and from our perspective, this was the most visibility we [have] had in the water of any objects ... and gave us the most promising leads," he said.

In its latest update, the AMSA said Monday's search activities will involve a total of 10 aircraft.

They include one Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) P3 Orion, a Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) P3 Orion, one Japanese P3 Orion, a Japan Coast Guard Gulfstream jet, a Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force Ilyushin IL-76, a Republic of Korea P3 Orion, a United States Navy P8 Poseidon, two Royal Malaysian Air Force C-130 Hercules and one civil jet acting as a communications relay.

The Chinese Ilyushin IL-76 aircraft was scheduled to depart about 9am.

The US Navy P8 Poseidon and RNZAF P3 Orion were scheduled to depart about 11am.

The Republic of Korea P3 Orion was scheduled to depart about 11.30am.

The civil jet acting as communications relay was due to depart about 12pm.

The two Malaysian C130 Hercules aircraft were scheduled to depart about 1pm.

A RAAF P3 Orion was due to depart about 2pm.

The Japan Coast Guard Gulfstream jet is due to depart about 2.30pm following by the Japanese P3
Orion at about 3pm.

A total of 10 ships have also been tasked to today's search.

This includes HMAS Success and HMAS Toowoomba, seven Chinese ships and a merchant vessel.

The ADV Ocean Shield is scheduled to depart from Perth today.

It has now been fitted with a black box detector and an autonomous underwater vehicle.

Some parts of the search area will experience low cloud and rain throughout the day, the AMSA said.


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