As it happened: Debris spotted in airliner search

Key points

  • The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (Amsa) says its search operation has ended for the day and will continue on Friday morning
  • Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott says two objects have been spotted by satellite that may have come from the missing Malaysian airliner
  • Four search planes were sent to look for the debris in the South Indian Ocean. A Norwegian ship has reached the area
  • The Malaysian transport minister describes the possible sighting as a “credible lead”, but says the authorities are treating it with caution
  • Teams from 26 countries are now trying to locate flight MH370, which went missing on 8 March with 239 people on board
  • UK satellite firm Inmarsat says there were very strong indications 10 days ago the plane was not in the initial search area (All times GMT)

Live text

Reporting:

  • Mohamed Madi 
  • Lorna Hankin 
  • David Walker 
  • Jasmine Coleman 
  • Bernadette McCague 
  • Amee Enriquez 
  • Sitala Peek 

STANDARD 04:02

Welcome to our live page on developments in the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 after Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott says two objects that could be debris from the jet have been seen off Western Australia.

STANDARD 04:04

Mr Abbott told parliament in Canberra that a search aircraft had been diverted to try to locate the objects in the southern Indian Ocean.

STANDARD 04:07

In his statement, Mr Abbott said: "I would like to inform the House that new and credible information has come to light in relation to the search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority has received information based on satellite imagery of objects possibly related to the search. Following specialist analysis of this satellite imagery, two possible objects related to the search have been identified."

STANDARD 04:14

Tony Abbott

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the task of locating the objects would be "extremely difficult", and cautioned: "It may turn out that they are not related to the search for flight MH370."

STANDARD 04:19

To recap, the search for the plane is focused on two giant arcs of territory. Australia has been heading the search along a southern arc stretching from the Indonesian coast to the west of Australia.

STANDARD 04:25

Reuters reports that Malaysian Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein has told reporters: "I can confirm we have a new lead."

STANDARD 04:28

Analysts have previously speculated that the southern maritime corridor is the most likely location for the missing aircraft, pointing out the unlikelihood of it passing undetected over nearly a dozen countries.

STANDARD 04:30

More now on that statement from Malaysia Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein. He said: "At 10:00 this morning, Prime Minister Dato Seri Najib Razak received a call from Prime Minister Tony Abbott of Australia, informing him that two possible objects related to the search for MH370 had been identified in the southern Indian Ocean. The Australian High Commissioner has also briefed me on the situation."

STANDARD 04:44

John Young, a spokesman for the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), tells a press conference that the objects were located in the southern Indian Ocean about 2,500km (1,550 miles) south-west of Perth on Australia's west coast.

STANDARD 04:47

Asked about the size of the objects, Mr Young said one piece was approximately 24m (78ft).