A Malaysia airlines plane is being pulled at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang.
A Malaysia airlines plane is being pulled at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang. EPA - Ahmad Yusni

No way to survive more than a few hours in MH370 search area

A MARINE expert says there is "no way" for a human to survive more than a few hours in the unforgiving piece of water where authorities are currently searching for the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

The patch of the Southern Ocean currently being scoured by military aircrafts from Australia, New Zealand and the United States is notoriously rough and brutally cold.

If the MH370 carrying 239 passengers including six Australians did fall into this part of the ocean and those aboard were left in the water and not on a raft,  the news is grim.

Irene and George Burrows from Central Queensland are yet to know the fate of their son Rodney and daughter-in-law Mary who are on board.

The couple were awaiting the arrival of their first grandchild.

Winthrop Professor Charitha Pattiaratchi with the University of Western Australia's Oceans Institute said the surface temperature of water in the search area, about 2500km south-west of Perth, would be about 10 degrees.

In some parts, it would be 5km deep.

"It's one of the roughest patches of water in the world; you can't really get any rougher than that region," Prof Pattiaratchi said

"The survival rate in the water is probably a few hours.

"There will basically have big waves of 4m or 5m high, sometimes under storm conditions they could be 10m high."

Although the area is not considered part of the marine "garbage dump" where debris tends to gather, flotsam and jetsam can pop up in any part of the ocean, he said.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority is helping co-ordinate the search of the Southern Ocean after satellite imagery detected debris within the search-area designated for the lost flight on Thursday.

In a press conference on Thursday, AMSA general manager John Young said the group was doing "its level best to find anyone that may have survived", assuming the images did show pieces of the lost aircraft.

As of midday, two Royal Australian Air Force P3 Orions and a civilian Gulfstream Jet are today scouring the waters for the debris.

A third RAAF P3 Orion is on the way to the search area, with a United States Navy P8 Poseidon - a submarine hunting jet -due to arrive nearby at 5pm.

Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss said in a radio interview on Friday morning the search was being complicated by ocean conditions that would have shifted the debris since the satellite photos were taken on March 16.

The aerial search party can manage no more than two hours at a time before having to return to land for refuelling.

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