CANBERRA, March 26 (Xinhua) -- Aircraft from six nations were taking off from the southwest Australian city of Perth in staggered schedule of departures to comb the southern Indian Ocean for signs of missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
With a four-hour flight covering 2,500 km each way, the 12 aircraft taking part Wednesday will have about two hours each over the search area, so the staggered departures allow newly arrived aircraft to take over monitoring if another aircraft spots objects in the water.
A Chinese Ilyushin IL-76 aircraft was the first aircraft to depart, taking off at 8 a.m. local time, followed by a New Zealand air force P3 Orion at 9:10 a.m., said a statement from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA).
A Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) P3 Orion was scheduled to depart around 11 a.m., a U.S. Navy P8 Poseidon at 2 p.m., a Japanese P3 Orion at 3 p.m., a second RAAF P3 Orion at 4 p.m and a Republic of Korea P3 Orion at 5 p.m..
Two civil aircraft have already departed for the search area and another three are due to take off by midday.
The civil aircraft would carry a total of 34 State Emergency Service volunteers from Western Australia as air observers.
Australian navy vessel HMAS Success and Chinese polar supply ship Xue Long have arrived in the search area.
The search had been split into three areas within the same proximity covering a total 80,000 square km, up from 68,500 square km in two areas on the previous search day on Monday.
The search was suspended Tuesday because of poor weather.
Searchers are still trying to locate and recover objects found in satellite photos from the United States, China and France as well as other items spotted from Chinese and Australian aircraft earlier in the search.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Tuesday the operation would move from searching to recovery and investigation after information supplied by the Malaysian government indicated the aircraft had come down in the southern Indian Ocean with no survivors.