Royal New Zealand Air Force captain, Wing Commander Rob Shearer, and Sergeant Sean Donaldson look out from the cockpit of a P3 Orion maritime search aircraft while flying over the southern Indian Ocean to look for missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 on April 4, 2014. Image Credit: Reuters

Perth: A Chinese air force plane has spoted floating objects in the search area for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, news agency Xinhua reported on Saturday.

The plane photographed the objects over a period of 20 minutes after spotting them at 11:05 local time.
An Australian pilot on board the plane reported the information to the Joint Agency Coordination Center, which is coordinating the multinational search in the southern Indian Ocean.

Pulse signal detected

A Chinese patrol ship in the southern Indian Ocean has detected a "pulse signal" although there is yet to confirmation it is from missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, Xinhua reported on Saturday.

The pulse signal has a frequency of 37.5 kHz, which is the standard beacon frequency for black boxes, experts say.

Painstaking underwater search

Meanwhile, two vessels searched underwater for flight MH370 on Saturday, as air and sea missions failed to find any sign of the plane.

Up to 10 military planes, three civilian jets and 11 ships took part in the protracted search in the southern Indian Ocean for the Boeing 777 which disappeared on March 8 with 239 people onboard.

"Today Australian Defence Vessel Ocean Shield and (Britain's) HMS Echo continue underwater search operations," the Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) said.

The vessels, which are searching 24 hours a day, hope to pick up a signal from the plane's black box recorder, but the battery powering those emissions is nearing the end of its roughly 30-day life span.

In Kuala Lumpur, Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussain said Malaysia would, in line with international agreements, appoint an independent "investigator in charge" to lead an international team to probe what happened to MH370.

The team will include Australia, China, the United States, Britain and France.

Hishammuddin again declined to provide any detail from Malaysia's ongoing investigation, however, saying he remained focused on finding the plane and its black box.

Australia is leading the hunt for the plane, which concentrated Saturday on about 217,000 square kilometres of the Indian Ocean some 1,700 kilometres northwest of Perth.

Malaysian authorities have faced heavy criticism, particularly from China, for mismanaging the search and holding back information. Most of the 227 passengers were Chinese.