As the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 continued on Monday, Australian authorities said that new signals consistent with those emitted by a black box recorder had been detected, describing the discovery as “a most promising lead”.
Australia’s HMAS Ocean Shield picked up the sounds twice over a period of more than two and a half hours, using sophisticated US Navy equipment designed to find signals sent from black boxes.
Retired Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, head of the Australian agency coordinating search operations in the southern Indian Ocean, warned, however, that it could take days to confirm whether the signals came from the missing Boeing 777’s black box recorder.
“Clearly this is a most promising lead, and probably in the search so far, it’s the probably the best information that we have had,” Houston said at a news conference. “This would be consistent with transmissions from both the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder.”
He said the position of the noise needs to be further refined, and then an underwater autonomous vehicle can be sent in to investigate.
‘Today I can report some very encouraging information,’ says Houston
“It could take some days before the information is available to establish whether these detections can be confirmed as being from MH370. In very deep oceanic water, nothing happens fast.”
The plane vanished March 8 during a flight from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing with 239 people on board, setting off an international search that started off in Vietnam before shifting to the southern Indian Ocean as information from radar and satellite data was refined.
Houston said the Ocean Shield detected two separate signal detections in the northern part of the defined search area, with the first detected for approximately two hours and 20 minutes, and the second for 13 minutes on the ship’s return trip over the same area. He said the depth in the area is approximately 4,500 meters (14,800 feet).
“I would want more confirmation before we say this is it,” he said. “Without wreckage, we can’t say it’s definitely here. We’ve got to go down and have a look and hopefully we’ll find it somewhere in the area that we narrowed to,” Houston said.
(FRANCE 24 with AP, REUTERS)
Date created : 2014-04-07