News / Asia

    Searchers Detect More 'Pings' in Malaysia Jet Search

    • A relative of Chinese passengers aboard Flight MH370 takes a nap against the wall displaying messages of wishes for the passengers during a briefing held by Malaysia officials at a hotel in Beijing, April 11, 2014.
    • A woman, the daughter of a Chinese passenger on Flight MH370 shows her mobile phone displaying a photo of her father near the wall displaying messages of wishes for the passengers at a hotel in Beijing, April 11, 2014.
    • A woman ties a message card for passengers onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 at a shopping mall in Petaling Jaya, near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, April 10, 2014.
    • Spectators take photos of a Chinese Ilyushin IL-76 aircraft as it comes in for a landing at Perth International Airport after returning from the ongoing search operations for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, Perth, Australia, April 10, 2014.
    • A man places a candle on top of a white board set up to place messages for passengers on Flight MH370 during a candlelight vigil in Kuala Lumpur, April 6, 2014.
    • People place candles on a banner reading, "Pray for MH370" after a special prayer for passengers onboard the missing plane at the Malaysian Chinese Association headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, April 6, 2014.
    • A U.S. Navy towed pinger locator is pictured on a dock at HMAS Stirling naval base near Perth.
    • Chinese patrol ship Haixun 01 is pictured during a search for Flight MH370, in the south Indian Ocean, April 5, 2014. (CNS photo)
    • The Bluefin 21, an Artemis autonomous underwater vehicle, is hoisted back on board the Australian Defence Vessel Ocean Shield after a successful buoyancy test in the southern Indian Ocean, April 4, 2014.
    • A flight lieutenant monitors a TAC station onboard a Royal New Zealand Air Force P3 Orion during search operations for Flight MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean, April 4, 2014.
    The Search for Flight MH370
    Australian and U.S. Navy officials said they have detected more acoustic signals that may belong to a black box from the missing Malaysia Airlines jet. However, they are stressing that the airliner's location cannot be confirmed until wreckage from flight MH370 is spotted on the surface or under the Indian Ocean.
     
    Authorities Monday said they are very encouraged, but nonetheless remain cautious, amid the clearest indications yet of where the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 could be.
     
    The best clues during the month-long search have been picked up by U.S. Navy black box detection equipment being towed by an Australian naval ship in deep waters more than 1,500 kilometers northwest of Perth, Australia.

     
    MH370 Extended Search 4-7-2014MH370 Extended Search 4-7-2014
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    MH370 Extended Search 4-7-2014
    MH370 Extended Search 4-7-2014
    Retired air chief Angus Houston, the leader of the Australian team coordinating the international search effort, said the first detection of acoustic signals on a frequency of 37.5 kilohertz was held for 2 hours 20 minutes. The second detection, on a return leg, was heard for 13 minutes.
     
    "Significantly, this would be consistent with transmissions from both the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder. Clearly this is a most promising lead," said Houston.
     
    A British naval vessel, the HMS Echo, is heading to an area where a Chinese patrol ship, the Haixun-01, using a hydrophone dangled over the side of the boat, detected acoustic pings Friday and Saturday about two kilometers apart.
     
    Houston said the vessels are in a race against time to receive further underwater signals.
     
    "The life of the batteries must be getting somewhere close to the end of life. It's what, 31 days, so we're already one day past the advertised shelf life. We hope that it keeps going for a little bit longer," said Houston.
     
    Royal Australian Navy commodore Peter Leavy said searchers hope to use equipment to begin exploring the ocean floor if they detect more of the suspected black box signals.
     
    "If they gain another acoustic event on that towed pinger locator that would be the trigger, at the moment, to launch the autonomous underwater vehicle with the underwater sonar and, potentially, camera for mapping and visually looking at the ocean floor," said Leavey.
     
    In the area where the acoustic pulses have been detected, the ocean floor is about 4,500 meters below the surface. That is the limit of the operating depth for the autonomous underwater vehicle.
     
    Officials caution it could be weeks, or possibly months, before anything is found at that depth over what is still a wide search area.
     
    Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared on March 8 during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. The aircraft was carrying 239 people. Most of the passengers were Chinese.
     

    Steve Herman

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

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: erwin rommel from: right behind you
    April 08, 2014 3:42 AM
    billions of dollars in patents aboard. nuff said. piracy.

    by: Maria from: Toronto
    April 08, 2014 2:43 AM
    I really dont understand why they just cannot send down the underwater vehicle to look at this possible spot. Is there a reason this is not done since they have the use of the machine and they gave some coordinates on the pinging sounds, possibly the black box.

    by: Joe from: NC
    April 08, 2014 1:59 AM
    My eveready batterys have a shelf life of 10 yrs. My rechargeable razor is 6 yrs old.. my lithium drill can sit 6 months. Airlines can do better than 30 days. They dont because they are cheap and dont want to adda kilo or two weight.

    by: NC10T from: USA
    April 08, 2014 1:59 AM
    Who do we send the bill for US services to? Malaysia? China? Malaysia Airlines?

    by: Aaron from: Oklahoma City
    April 08, 2014 1:36 AM
    No one knows exactly what has happened to the aircraft, all anyone can hope for at the moment is that the pings the searchers are getting ARE from the plane. The only way to truely know what has happened is to find the plane retrieve the back boxxes and go from there. Hopefully they can find the answers from those.

    by: jason from: mn
    April 08, 2014 1:28 AM
    Why did it take so long for them to look for the black box?

    by: Alu from: PRC
    April 07, 2014 8:56 PM
    I am just wondering what happened in the period of last 5-6 hours when the airplan kept in one direction? I am believed that Malaysia could tell us more, I am not certain of whether the airplane had been hijacked, but I am sure that our reasonal doubt would not break china-malaysia relationship

    by: Lou from: Atlanta
    April 07, 2014 8:40 AM
    Seems to me there would be some wreckage left on the surface, some fuel slicks and items floating to the top.
    In Response

    by: Mark from: Virginia
    April 07, 2014 9:06 AM
    after 30 days, in rough seas, in an area frequented by storms, it is highly unlikely anything would remain floating, and any fuel/oil would have long since dispersed over that large expanse of water. One can only hope that any underwater detection equipment can find and locate what remains of the aircraft on the ocean floor and recover the black box. There are hundreds of families that need closure to this, badly.

    by: HorseRider from: Chennai
    April 07, 2014 6:31 AM
    If this is a Black Box signal then it is nice and they will get the required wrekage of plane.

    by: Robert Bluck from: Birmingham UK
    April 07, 2014 3:24 AM
    In the past before this plane went down, there was an incident where a passenger was banned from the aircraft. I've had a feeling that he has something to do with this disaster. Whether he was on the flight is unknown to me.
    In Response

    by: zana from: washington, d.c.
    April 07, 2014 5:50 AM
    "...banned from the aircraft." As in this particular aircraft? How do you know that?

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