KUALA LUMPUR: Australia's Rescue and Coordination Centre (RCC) has detected a signal from an emergency distress beacon registered to a fishing vessel in the far southern Indian Ocean near Antarctica.
The Australian Maritime and Safety Authority (AMSA) said in a statement the RCC was unable to establish communication with the vessel and the nature of the distress was unknown.
"The RCC has retasked a Royal Australian Air Force P3 Orion from the search for (Malaysia Airlines') MH370 to fly to the area and render assistance if required," it said on Sunday.
The P3 is capable of dropping survival equipment, AMSA said, adding that it would take five hours to reach the location of the beacon.
It is located about 3,241 km southwest of Perth and 648 km north of the Antarctic mainland.
It further said that a civil jet had been brought in to replace the P3 in today's search for the Malaysian Boeing 777-200 jetliner, which mysteriously disappeared on March 8 with 239 people on board. - Bernama