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

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid