An Australian vessel searching for Flight MH370 has detected underwater sounds in the same area where other “pings”, consistent with the frequency used by the black boxes on board the missing plane, were picked up by other crews in previous days in the waters west of Perth, Australia.
Angus Houston — who is coordinating the search — says that the Australian navy P-3 Orion picked up a “possible signal” that could be from a man made source on Thursday, however, he added that “The acoustic data will require further analysis overnight.”
It has been more than a month, since Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 vanished — while en route from Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia to Beijing — over the waters of the South China Sea, carrying 239 souls on board.
If analysis determines the signals to be consistent with those emitted by the black boxes, it would be the fifth such sound detected by the multi-national search operations for Flight MH370.
Thus far, another Australian vessel, the Ocean Shield, has picked up two signals, adding to two other sounds detected by two other ships which are consistent with Flight MH370’s black boxes.
Additionally, the Australian Navy has dropped buoys in the area where the Ocean Shield detected the sounds.
Australian Navy Commodore Peter Leavy said the buoys — a floating device generally used by meteorologists to gather data about weather events — have hydrophones swinging about 1,000 feet deep to better help pinpoint the possible location of the missing plane.
The search area at the bottom of the Indian Ocean floor has been narrowed to about 500 square miles and once investigators determine an exact location of Flight MH370’s black boxes they will send an unmanned submarine to search for more debris.
Meanwhile, 14 planes and 13 ships looking for floating debris from Flight MH370, were focused on an area — one-quarter of the original size — about 1,400 miles west of Perth.
Search crews have returned to an area they have been to before, but have crisscrossed it in tighter patterns as the data indicates the focus area is much smaller than it was a few days ago, according to Houston, who said he is more optimistic about locating Flight MH370.
The search for Fligth MH370’s black boxes is a race against time, as the batteries in the cockpit voice and data recorders — which are actually orange — only last about a month.
Locating the black boxes is critical to explaining why Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 changed course from its intended destination more than one month ago.
[Image via Gossip Couch Screencap/Youtube]