The Australian Navy vessel Ocean Shield, deployed in the search for the missing Malaysian Airlines jet, has had extended contact with possible signals from a flight data recorder in the search zone.
It had two detections yesterday, locking on to the signal for two periods – one lasting more than seven minutes.
Retired Australian defence force chief Angus Houston, who is leading the search, told a media briefing: “I believe we are searching in the right place.”
He has cautioned, however, that “we will need to visually confirm aircraft wreckage to conclude this is the final resting place” of flight MH370, which went missing on March 8th with 239 people aboard, including six Australians.
Australia’s Joint Acoustic Analysis Centre has analysed the signals and confirmed they are consistent with a flight data recorder and are “not of natural origin”, Houston said.
The signals were at the 33.331 kilohertz frequency, and “consistently pulsed” every 1.106 seconds. The JAAC “believe the signals to be consistent with the specifications of a Flight Data Recorder”.
“This is a great lead,” Houston said.
“I think we are looking in the right area.
“I am optimistic we will find the aircraft, or what is left of the aircraft, in the not to distant future.”
Houston said the latest signal detections are weaker then previous pings. He said this could mean the locators are either moving further away from the transmission device or the battery is running out, adding he believes the latter is more likely.
“The signals are much weaker then the original signals that we picked up,” he said.
Here is where Ocean Shield’s towed pinger locator has detected signals.
Here’s the map of Wednesday’s planned search area.
More to come…
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