News / Asia

Ships Trying to Verify Pings in Malaysia Jet Search

Chinese patrol ship Haixun 01 is pictured during a search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, in the south Indian Ocean April 5, 2014, in this photo courtesy of China News Service.
Chinese patrol ship Haixun 01 is pictured during a search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, in the south Indian Ocean April 5, 2014, in this photo courtesy of China News Service.
Three distinct but fleeting sounds have now been heard from the depths of the Indian Ocean, but authorities are still uncertain whether any of them are signals from the data recorder of the missing Malaysian passenger jet.

An Australian ship with sophisticated deep-sea sound equipment picked up a signal Sunday that could be from the Boeing 777's black box that tracks flight information. That followed sounds heard by a Chinese ship on both Friday and Saturday in a different section of the search area.

The head of Malaysia's civil aviation agency, Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, said authorities are hopeful the signals might prove to be a breakthrough in the search for the plane that disappeared nearly a month ago with 239 people aboard on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. But a link to the aircraft has yet to be confirmed.  

"Of course, we're going to hope for the best, but then everything needs to be confirmed, needs to be verified," Rahman said. "So we're not saying 'That's it,' you know. Still have to be verified."

Earlier, the head of the multi-national search for the jet, retired Australian Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, told a news conference that although the pulses heard by the Chinese are consistent with a plane's black box flight recorder, officials cannot verify any connection at this stage between the signals and the Malaysian jet.

“This is an important and encouraging lead but one which I urge you to continue to treat carefully," he said. "We are working in a very big ocean and within a very large search area. And, so far, since the aircraft went missing we've had very few leads which allow us to narrow the search area.”

New search area
 
The potential breakthrough, however, the retired Australian air force chief confirms, is prompting the diversion of ships and planes to the area where the Chinese patrol vessel Haixun-01 detected acoustic pulses on Friday and Saturday in waters up to 4.5 kilometers deep.
 
Houston said, “At the moment, the data we have does not provide a means of verification. We have to do further investigation on the site itself.”
 
Signals on a frequency of 37.5 kilohertz were detected two kilometers apart by the Chinese ship.
 
Authorities say an Australian vessel, the Ocean Shield, several hundred kilometers away and carrying a sophisticated U.S. Navy pinger locator, also heard a faint signal on the same frequency. It is to listen for more underwater sounds at its current location before heading to the spot where the Chinese patrol ship's hydrophone detected something.
 
A British Royal Navy vessel, the HMS Echo, last week detected a similar signal that turned out to be false.
 
The batteries for the locator beacon of the missing plane's black box are due to run out at any time.

Nothing found yet
 
So far, all sightings of debris in the southern Indian Ocean have been determined to not be from the missing Boeing 777.
 
A dozen planes and 13 ships are continuing to search.
 
The Malaysia Airlines jet veered off course after departing Kuala Lumpur on a scheduled flight to Beijing on March 8. It was carrying 227 passengers - mostly Chinese - plus a crew of 12.
 
Investigators say they do not know whether the plane was hijacked or otherwise deliberately diverted by one of the two pilots.
 
Mechanical problems have not been eliminated as a cause, but investigators say they believe the plane's flight management system was re-programmed. After the plane's transponder was shut off, the jet turned back towards Malaysia and then stayed in an established flight corridor.
 
An analysis of routine pings from the engines to a satellite led investigators to conclude the aircraft ran out of fuel over the southern India Ocean

Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steve Herman is VOA's Southeast Asia Bureau Chief and Correspondent, based in Bangkok.

You May Like

China’s Influence Grows With New Infrastructure Bank

Multibillion-dollar China-backed and BRICS-supported Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank seen as possible challenger to such lenders as IMF, World Bank More

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

Rabbi Michel Serfaty makes the rounds in his friendship bus to encourage dialogue and break down barriers between the two groups More

Post-deal Iran Leaders Need 'Economic Momentum' to Solidify

Economists say deal could inject more than $100 billion into coffers - not enough to entirely rescue ailing economy - but maybe adequate to create 'economic momentum' More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impacti
X
Michael Bowman
June 28, 2015 10:05 PM
Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Chemical-Sniffing Technology Fights Australia's Graffiti Vandals

Cities and towns all over the world spend huge amounts of resources battling graffiti writers who deface buildings, public transport vehicles and even monuments. Authorities in Sydney, Australia, hope a new chemical-sniffing technology finally will stop vandals from scribbling on walls in the passenger areas of commuter trains. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Cambodia Struggling to Curb Child Labor

Earlier this year a United Nations report found 10 percent of Cambodian children aged 7-14 are working – one of the highest rates in the region – and said one in four children in that age bracket are forced to quit school to help their families. Although the child labor rate has dropped over the past decade, Cambodia has a lot more to do – including keeping more children in school. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.

VOA Blogs