Search for MH370 underway but weather expected to worsen later today: AMSA

PERTH - The search and recovery operation for Malaysia Airlines MH370 is underway in the Australian Search and Rescue Region, Australian authorities said on Thursday.

Search activities on Thursday will involve a total of 11 aircraft and five ships, Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said in a statement.

Thursday's search is split into two areas within the same proximity covering a cumulative 78,000 square kilometres.

MH370 Recovery graphic

Two Royal Australian Air Force AP-3C Orions, a Chinese Ilyushin IL-76, a Japanese Gulfstream jet, a US Navy P-8 Poseidon and a Japanese P-3 Orion will fly sorties throughout the day, AMSA said.

The first aircraft to leave Perth for the search area was the Chinese Ilyushin IL- 76 aircraft around 8am local time.

The two RAAF AP-3C Orions are scheduled to depart before midday. Five civil aircraft are scheduled to depart between 9.30am and 11am.

A total of 34 SES volunteers will again be air observers on board the civil aircraft.

MH370 potential objects map

A Japanese military ultra-long range jet will depart at around 2pm.

A US Navy P8 Poseidon is scheduled to depart around 4pm.

A Japanese military P3 Orion is scheduled to depart around 5pm.

HMAS Success remains in the search area about 2500 kilometres south-west of Perth and was joined by four Chinese ships - Xue Long, Kunlunshan, Haikou and Qiandaohu - in the search area.

Weather in the search area is expected to deteriorate later on Thursday.

MH370 Sequence of events map