MH370 search puts rescuers close to new distress call

THE missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 might have crashed in the most isolated part of the ocean imaginable - that is, until Australian authorities received a call for help almost 1000km south-west of the search area.

As 10 aircrafts and eight ships combed the ocean off Perth for wreckage on Sunday, the coordination centre detected an emergency distress beacon from a fishing vessel near Antarctica.

A Royal Australian Air Force P3 Orion jet was dispatched from the search to deliver help if needed.

The P3 is able to drop survival equipment to the vessel.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Tony Abbott refused to discuss how much the search for MH370 has cost the Australian Government so far.

Mr Abbott told reporters, "It's costing what's necessary to do the job properly and we're not going to shirk the job," he said.

"We will spend what we need to spend to get this job done."

On Saturday he said each country involved was "bearing its own costs".

Ships involved in the search recovered some objects from the water on the weekend but these were not related to the MH370.

The flight disappeared on March 8 as it travelled from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people - including six Australians - on board.