Sig­nals heard again in hunt for MH370

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By CHINA DAILY

An Aus­tralian air­craft de­tected a sig­nal on Thurs­day that was pos­si­bly com­ing from one of the black boxes of miss­ing Malaysia Air­lines Flight MH370, an Aus­tralian of­fi­cial leading the search con­firmed.

An­gus Hous­ton, chief co­or­di­na­tor of Aus­tralia’s Joint Agency Co­or­di­na­tion Cen­ter, con­firmed that an AP-3C Orion air­craft from the Aus­tralian air force de­tected “a pos­si­ble sig­nal in the vicin­ity of the Aus­tralian De­fense Ves­sel OceanShield”, the cen­ter said in a state­ment.

“The acous­tic data will re­quire fur­ther anal­y­sis overnight but shows po­ten­tial of be­ing from a man-made source,” Hous­ton said. “I will pro­vide a fur­ther up­date if, and when, fur­ther in­for­ma­tion be­comes avail­able.”

Find­ing one of the flight’s black boxes soon is im­por­tant be­cause their lo­ca­tor bea­cons have a bat­tery life of about a month. Tues­day marked one month since the flight van­ished en route from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Bei­jing with 239 people aboard.

Planes and ships hunt­ing for the miss­ing jet­liner ze­roed in on a patch of the In­dian Ocean on Thurs­day, af­ter an Aus­tralian ship picked up un­der­wa­ter sig­nals that are con­sis­tent with a plane’s black box.

Thurs­day’s search zone was the small­est yet in the month­long hunt for MH370 as the Aus­tralian Mar­itime Safety Author­ity des­ig­nated a search area of nearly 58,000 sq km, 2,280 km north­west of Perth.

Up to 14 planes and 13 ships as­sisted in Thurs­day’s search.

The OceanShield, tow­ing a United States navy pinger lo­ca­tor, is now fo­cused on a far smaller area of the In­dian Ocean where it picked up two fresh sig­nals on Tues­day.

Those trans­mis­sions matched a pair of sig­nals logged over the weekend.

“When you put those two to­gether, it makes us very op­ti­mistic,” said Com­man­der Wil­liam Marks, the US 7th Fleet spokesman. He added that the search was get­ting “closer and closer”.

“This is not some­thing you find with commercial ship­ping, not some­thing just found in na­ture — this is def­i­nitely some­thing that is man-made, con­sis­tent with what you would find with these black boxes.”

He told CNN he ex­pected the pings to last “maybe an­other day or two”.

No float­ing de­bris from the air­craft has yet been found de­spite days of ex­haus­tive search­ing by ships and air­craft from sev­eral na­tions.

The cen­ter said on Thurs­day that searchers had not yet de­ployed an un­manned sub­ma­rine to cre­ate a sonar map of a po­ten­tial de­bris field on the seabed.

It also con­firmed that the Aus­tralian Trans­port Safety Bureau is con­tin­u­ing to re­fine the area where the miss­ing air­craft is thought to have en­tered the wa­ter.

The nar­row­ing of that area is based on con­tin­u­ing mul­ti­dis­ci­plinary tech­ni­cal anal­y­sis of satel­lite com­mu­ni­ca­tion and air­craft per­for­mance, passed from the in­ter­na­tional air crash in­ves­tiga­tive team, ac­cord­ing to the com­mand cen­ter.

In Malaysia, Home Min­is­ter Zahid Hamidi said there was “no con­clu­sive ev­i­dence yet” from the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into what caused the plane to di­vert from its Kuala LumpurBei­jing route.

Zahid, who over­sees law en­force­ment, said around 180 people had been in­ter­viewed, in­clud­ing rel­a­tives of pas­sen­gers and crew, and air­line ground staff and en­gi­neers.

“We are fil­ter­ing all the in­for­ma­tion. When the ev­i­dence is con­clu­sive then we will let the me­dia know about it,” he said. Xin­hua and agencies con­trib­uted to this story.

COUR­TESY OF AUS­TRALIAN DE­FENCE FORCE

Sailors aboard the Aus­tralian navy ship HMAS Perth look to­ward the re­plen­ish­ment oiler HMAS Suc­cess dur­ing ma­neu­vers as they con­tinue to search for Malaysia Air­lines flight MH370. The hunt, in­volv­ing 26 coun­tries, is on track to cost hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars, mak­ing it the most ex­pen­sive search in avi­a­tion his­tory.

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