Spotters on board one of the civilian aircraft chartered to assist AMSA with the search of debris in the southern Indian Ocean have spotted a wooden pallet and other items that could possibly be from the missing Malaysia airlines flight.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said he was informed overnight that a civilian aircraft had seen “a number of small objects very close together within the Australian search zone.”

Mr Abbott said there had been three significant developments that give increasing hope that the aircraft may be discovered.

“New Chinese satellite imagery does seem to suggest at least one large object down consistent with the object that earlier satellite imagery discovered,” Abbot said. 

“Yesterday, one of our civilian aircraft got visuals on a number of objects in a fairly small area very close together within the Australian search zone.”

Earlier this morning AMSA released a statement that confirmed they would be taking into account the new satellite image provided by China that shows an object about 22.5 metres long and 13 metres wide floating in the southern Indian ocean.

“AMSA plotted the position and it fell within yesterday’s search area. The object was not sighted during yesterday’s search,” the release read.

The search efforts today are being joined by four additional aircraft two Chinese and two Japanese P3 Orions.

Mr Abbott said HMAS Success is believed to be in the search area now.

“The more aircraft we have, the more ships we have, the more confident we are of recovering whatever material is down there,” Abbott said.  

“There is increasing hope that we may be on the road to discovering what happened to this ill fated aircraft.”  

Above: An image released to Malaysian officials show images taken from a Chinese Satellite taken on 18 March showing an object about 22.5 metres floating in the southern Indian ocean.MH370: Hisham: China release new satellite image

AMSA update at 3pm AEST

Speaking from Canberra AMSA officials spoke of the continuing search operations in the southern Indian Ocean.

Rescue Co-Ordination Centre manager Mike Barton described how some of the items seen yesterday by a civilian aircraft could belong to missing Malaysia airlines flight MH370.

“The use of wooden pallets is quite common in the industry,” said Mr Barton.

Mr Barton described what some of the unknown ‘debris’ around the wooden pallet may have been.

“A number of objects around couldn’t quite be determined,” Barton said. 

“The only other items were straps that were there, which could be from anything.”

AMSA officials also described the search as challenging with changing weather conditions like sea fog affecting visibility from aircraft.

“Our focus here is to define the very best search area that we can,” AMSA general manager John Young said.

“We have the best search area that we can.

“It’s been peer reviewed by other organisations.

“We have good aircraft, good controllers and good observers.”

Chinese ships are expected to arrive in the search zone Tuesday.