An Australian air force plane has been diverted from the search for Malaysia Airlines flight 370 to respond to a fishing boat’s emergency distress beacon near Antarctica.
The P3 Orion was on Sunday afternoon sent from the Indian Ocean search zone to look for a fishing boat in trouble about 3240km southwest of Perth and 650km north of the Antarctic mainland, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said.
“The rescue coordination centre was unable to establish communications with the vessel and the nature of distress is unknown,” AMSA added.
Authorities sent the P3 as it is capable of dropping survival equipment.
“A broadcast to shipping has been issued, however due to the remoteness of the location it is unlikely that any other ships will be near the area,” AMSA said.
“The weather forecast for the area is extremely poor with low cloud, rain, snow and a water temperature of 2 degrees Celsius.”
The beacon is registered to a fishing vessel, but no details of the nationality, crew or size of the vessel have been released.
To replace the Orion in the search for MH370 a civilian jet has been dispatched from Melbourne.
That jet is expected to take five hours to travel nearly 4000km to the search zone, where it can fly for a further two hours before having to turn back.