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, Steven L Herman is the Voice of America Asia correspondent.

You May Like

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid