Canberra- An Australian plane spotted two objects in the search for Malaysia's missing jet in the southern Indian Ocean and was sending a ship to investigate, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott today, with Malaysian authorities saying they could be reached "within hours".

"The crew on board the Orion reported seeing two objects, the first a grey or green circular object and the second an orange rectangular object," Abbott told parliament yesterday.

They are different to the pieces seen by a Chinese plane earlier in the day and were located by an Australian RAAF P3 Orion about 2,500km southwest of Perth. The HMAS Success, which has a crane capable of retrieving any wreckage, was in the area and attempting to recover the objects.

"HMAS Success is in the vicinity and it is possible that the objects could be received within the next few hours, or by tomorrow morning at the latest," Transport and Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein told a press conference in Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur.

Abbott said a US Navy Poseidon, a second Royal Australian Orion and a Japanese Orion are also en route to the area. "I caution again ... that we don't know whether any of these objects are from MH370, they could be flotsam," he said. "Nevertheless we are hopeful that we can recover these objects soon and they will take us a step closer to resolving this tragic mystery."

Earlier today, a Chinese aircrew searching for vanished Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 reported seeing "suspicious objects" in the area. The larger objects were "white and square", the state-run Xinhua news agency said with Chinese icebreaker Xuelong on its way to the area.