Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: 'Black Box Signals' Raise Hopes Of Finding Missing Malaysian Plane [PHOTOS]

 @lukeydukeyl.villapaz@ibtimes.com on April 07 2014 11:26 AM

The search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 has taken a new turn over the weekend, after two search vessels reported the detection of “electronic pulse signals,” giving hope to search and rescue teams that have been searching the southern Indian Ocean for weeks.

On Saturday, reports surfaced that the Chinese ship Haixun 01 had detected electronic pulse signals in the southern Indian Ocean. While the initial reports of signals detected by the Chinese vessel were treated cautiously, a day later, the Australian Defense Vessel, Ocean Shield, also reported the detection of pulse signals consistent with those emitted from a flight data recorder, commonly known as a black box.

According to a diagram provided by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, the individual signal detections occurred approximately 600 kilometers (373 miles) apart, along one of the calculated satellite "handshake" arcs. While the new leads have given further hope in the possibility of finding Flight MH370, officials made it clear that they still need further confirmation to see if the plane did go down in the area where the signals were detected.

“Clearly, this is a most promising lead. And probably in the search so far, it's probably the best information that we have had. And again, I would ask all of you to treat this information cautiously and responsibly until such time as we can provide an unequivocal determination,” Angus Houston, head of the Australian Joint Agency Coordination Center, said at a press conference on Monday.

The ADV Ocean Shield detected the potential black box signal and held contact with it for approximately two hours and 20 minutes. After losing the signal contact, the ADV Ocean Shield turned around and acquired two distinct signals, which were detected for approximately 13 minutes. According to Houston, the pings detected are consistent with transmissions from both the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder.

While the new ping detections have allowed search and rescue teams to narrow their focus in the search for Flight MH370, finding precise location of the Boeing 777-200ER’s black boxes is far more difficult. At the Monday morning press conference, Royal Australian Navy Commodore Peter Levy explained the issues faced in narrowing the search:

“As you've heard, most of the--all of the detections that are happening at the moment are acoustic, you can think of it essentially as deployed microphones listening for sound and on the Towed Pinger Locater, that's sitting approximately 3,000 meters below the surface of the ocean. Unlike in air where sound travels in a straight line, acoustic energy, sound, through the water is greatly affected by temperature, pressure and salinity. And that has the effect of attenuating, bending, sometimes through 90 degrees, sound waves.”

Even with the black box batteries estimated to expire today, the international task force continues to search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, looking for any sign or the missing airliner, which went missing in the early hours of March 8.

AMSA MH370 - Ping Map

Two search vessels detected pings consistent with the flight data recorder and cockpit data recorder on board airliners such as Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 Australian Maritime Safety Authority

Flight MH370 AMSA-2014-04-07 Search Area

The planned Flight MH370 search area for Monday, April 7 Australian Maritime Safety Authority

Haixun 01 Black Box MH370

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. Reuters/CNSphoto

Flight MH370 Towed Pinger Locator Behind ADV Ocean Shield

The towed pinger locator (TPL-25) is towed behind the Australian Defense Vessel Ocean Shield in the southern Indian Ocean during the search for the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder of the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 in this picture released by the Australian Defense Force April 5, 2014. Australian Defense Force/Handout Via Reuters

Flight MH370 AMSA-2014-04-07 Search Area 2

Areas of the southern area searched, along with scheduled search efforts for Flight MH370 Australian Maritime Safety Authority

Australian Defense Force Search For MH370 3

A S-70B-2 Seahawk helicopter from Australian Navy ship HMAS Toowoomba unloads supplies on the deck of HMAS Success in the southern Indian Ocean during the continuing search for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 in this picture released by the Australian Defense Force April 7, 2014. Australian Defense Force/Handout Via Reuters

Acoustic Beacon Flight Recorder Black box

U.S. Navy Captain Mark Matthews holds up a sample of a flight recorder's black box acoustic beacon during a news conference at HMAS Stirling naval base near Perth, March 30, 2014. Matthews is in charge of the operation to deploy a U.S. Navy Supervisor of Salvage and Diving (SUPSALV) towed pinger locator, an undersea drone capable of exploring waters nearly 15,000 feet deep to help locate the black box pinger from the sunken wreckage of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean. Reuters/Jason Reed

NTSB Flight Data Recorder

An example of a flight data recorder, commonly known as the "black box" National Transportation Safety Board

Australian Defense Force Search For MH370

Crew members aboard the Australian Navy ship HMAS Success look out from the deck as they continue to search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in this picture released by the Australian Defence Force April 7, 2014. Australian Defense Force/Handout Via Reuters

Australian Defense Force Search For MH370 2

Leading Seaman Boatswains Mate Luke Pertovt prepares to launch the Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB) from the Australian Navy ship HMAS Success to search for possible debris as part of the continuing search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in this picture released by the Australian Defense Force April 7, 2014. Australian Defense Force/Handout Via Reuters

Flight MH370 Towed Pinger Locator

The towed pinger locator (TPL-25) sits on the deck of the Australian Defense Vessel Ocean Shield in the southern Indian Ocean during the search for the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder of the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 in this picture released by the Australian Defense Force April 5, 2014. Australian Defense Force/Handout Via Reuters

Australian Defense Force Search For MH370 4

Royal Australian Navy Commander James Lybrand (R), the Mission Commander of the Australian Defense Vessel Ocean Shield, watches as Mike Unzicker from Phoenix International monitors the feed from the towed pinger locator in the southern Indian Ocean during the continuing search for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 in this picture released by the Australian Defence Force April 7, 2014. Australian Defense Force/Handout Via Reuters

Angus Houston Flight MH370

Angus Houston, head of the Australian agency coordinating the search for missing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370, points to a map as he speaks during a news conference in Perth April 7, 2014. Reuters/Richard Polden

Join the Discussion