UPDATED, April 6, 2014, 10 A.M. EDT
PERTH, Australia--Chinese and Australian ships searching for Malaysia Airlines MH370 have picked up separate acoustic signals in different parts of a vast Indian Ocean search area and are trying to verify if one could be from the plane's black box recorders, Reuters reported.
Australian search authorities said on Sunday a Chinese patrol vessel, the Haixun 01, had picked up a fleeting "ping" signal twice in recent days in waters west of Perth, near where investigators believe the Boeing went down on March 8.
More planes and ships were being sent to assist in that area, but meanwhile, Australia's HMAS Ocean Shield had reported a separate "acoustic event" some 300 nautical miles away, Reuters reported.
The Ocean Shield is carrying sophisticated U.S. Navy equipment designed to pick up signals sent from the black boxes, which may hold the key to why the aircraft ended up thousands of kilometers off course.
"We are treating each of them seriously. We need to ensure before we leave any of those areas that this does not have any connection with MH370," Retired Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, head of the Australian agency coordinating the operation, told a media conference in Perth.
A Chinese patrol ship hunting for the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 jetliner detected a pulse signal in the south Indian Ocean on Saturday, in a possible indicator of the underwater beacon from a plane's black box, Reuters reported.
Australian search authorities said such a signal would be "consistent" with a black box, but said there was no conclusive evidence linking the "ping" to Flight MH370, which went missing on March 8 with 239 people aboard shortly after taking off from Kuala Lumpur for Beijing.
A black box detector deployed by the vessel Haixun 01 picked up the "ping" signal with a frequency of 37.5kHz per second -- the same as emitted by flight recorders -- at about 25 degrees south latitude and 101 degrees east longitude, Reuters reported.
A Chinese air force plane had spotted a number of white floating objects in the search area.
Dozens of ships and planes from 26 countries are racing to find the black box recorders before their batteries run out.
Up to 10 military planes, three civilian jets and 11 ships are scouring a 88,000-square-mile patch of desolate ocean some 1,060 miles northwest of Perth, Australia, near where investigators believe the Boeing went down.
"The characteristics reported (by the Chinese vessel) are consistent with the aircraft black box," Retired Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, head of the Australian agency coordinating the operation, said in a statement.
"However, there is no confirmation at this stage that the signals and the objects are related to the missing aircraft," he said, adding his agency was seeking more information from China.