International search planes and ships are now sent to an area where a Chinese ship twice heard signals that were reportedly coming from missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370’s black box locators.
Retired Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, who is the main coordinator of the resque operation, told the media in Perth that two reported acoustic detections from the Haixun 01 were a good lead but there remained no certainty that they were sent from the plane which can’t be found for a month already.
“We are treating each of them seriously. We need to ensure before we leave any of those areas that this does not have any connection with MH370,” Houston said.
Aircrews from seven countries have thoroughly examined huge areas from Perth deep into the southern Indian Ocean looking for debris from the plane and theu have been joined by ships equipped with all the necessary devices capable of finding the locators on the black box voice and data recorders, Reuters writes.
“A black box detector deployed by the Haixun 01 picked up the signal with a frequency of 37.5kHz per second – the same as emitted by flight recorders – at about 25 degrees south and 101 degrees east, Xinhua reported on Saturday,” the publication explains.
Australian search authorities revealed to reporters that such kind of signal would be consistent with a black box, but both they and Xinhua stressed there was no conclusive evidence linking it to the Boeing 777.
“The 37.5kHz is the specific frequency that these locator pingers operate on,” said Anish Patel, president of Sarasota, Florida-based Dukane Seacom, which made the black box locator. “It’s a very unique frequency, typically not found in background ocean noise.”
Houston also explained that analysis of earlier satellite data had once again made investigators to refine the search area towards the southern part of the corridor.
“The area of the highest probability is, what we think, the southern part where Haixun 01 is operating. That is why we are really interested in the two acoustic encounters that Haixun 01 has had.”
The water was around 4,500 meters (14,800 ft) deep in that part of the search area, Houston added.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said he was “hopeful but by no means certain” that the reported pulse signals were related to MH370.
“This is the most difficult search in human history. We are searching for an aircraft which is at the bottom of a very deep ocean and it is a very, very wide search area,” Abbott told reporters in Tokyo, where he is on a visit.
Last month Malaysia’s Prime Minister announced that missing flight MH370 with 239 people aboard crashed in the southern Indian Ocean. Najib Razak said this was the conclusion of fresh analysis of satellite data tracking the flight.
“Using a type of analysis never before used in an investigation of this sort, they have been able to shed more light on MH370′s flight path,” he said. The analysis concluded that the plane’s last position was in the middle of the Indian Ocean, west of Perth.
“It is therefore with deep sadness and regret that I must inform you that in light of this new data, MH370 flight ended in the southern Indian Ocean,” Mr. Najib said at the time.