Malaysia AIrlines flight MH370 Indian Ocean debris hunt
Flight Lieutenant Jason Nichols aboard a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) AP-3C Orion, writes notes as they search for missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 over the southern Indian Ocean Reuters

Malaysian authorities said the first floating objects possibly related to the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 could be recovered by an Australian ship within the next few hours.

Malaysia's transport minister Hishammuddin Hussein said the Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot called his Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak to inform him of a new sighting in the southern Indian Ocean, off the western coast of Australia.

An Australian search flight spotted two objects, one circular and one rectangular, floating "in the vicinity" of an Australian vessel - HMAS Success - which was moving to recover them, Hussein told a press conference.

"It is possible that the objects could be received in the next few hours or tomorrow morning at the latest," said Hussein.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) confirmed the objects were spotted about 2500 kilometres south-west of Perth by a Royal Australian Air Force P3 Orion plane.

"The crew on board the Orion reported seeing two objects – the first a grey or green circular object and the second an orange rectangular object," AMSA said.

AMSA added it was a separate sighting from that by a Chinese Ilyushin-76 military aircraft which spotted several "suspicious white and rectangular" objects in the same area.

"The US Navy P8 Poseidon aircraft sought to relocate the objects reported by the Chinese aircraft but were unable to do so," AMSA said. "The US Navy P8 remains in the search area."

Hussein said yesterday 18,500 square nautical miles were searched in the Australian search area.

Another two orange objects approximately one metre in length and one white coloured drum were also sighted by an aircraft by remain unidentified.

"The search for MH370 has taken us halfway around the world. At the moment there are new leads, but nothing conclusive," Hussein said.

"Our thoughts continue to be with the families who are still waiting for news. In the meantime, we are grateful for the on-going co-operation shown by our partners in this multinational search."