Malaysia Airlines Flight 370: Another Day Another ‘Ping’ – Australian PM Optimistic, Families Are Not

The search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has been beyond frustrating for all involved, but particularly for family and friends of the passengers aboard Flight 370.

The continued pursuit of Flight 370’s location, however, little by little has gained legitimate traction and with one more ‘ping’, potentially from Flight 370’s black box, there is still room for some hope and optimism.

“We have very much narrowed down the search area, and we are very confident that the signals that we are detecting are from the black box,” said Australia’s Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, speaking from China where he was meeting with President Xi Jinping.

Abbott’s hopeful announcement was based on more signals being detected from Flight 370’s data recorder and cockpit voice recorder. The devices include locator beacons which send out auditory signals, or ‘pings’, four of which have been heard by the Australian ship, Ocean Shield, one of the primary vessels looking for Flight 370.

“We are confident that we know the position of the black box flight recorder to within some kilometers, but confidence in the approximate position of the black box is not the same as recovering wreckage from almost 4½ kilometers beneath the sea or finally determining all that happened on that flight,” said Abbott.

CBS News reported that the Australian air force was using another search tool, “sonar buoys”, which they’d dropped in the area of ocean where four earlier pings were heard. While the buoys did pick up a “possible signal”, the result was unfortunately familiar.

According to Angus Houston, Australia’s chief search coordinator, “(The sound is) unlikely to be related to the aircraft black boxes.”

“On the information I have available to me, there has been no major breakthrough in the search for MH370,” Houston continued. “Further analysis continues to be undertaken by Australian Joint Acoustic Analysis Centre.”

Flight 370 map
Current search area for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Map via CNN

With Flight 370 having disappeared approximately five weeks ago, searchers and officals are well aware that any signals being emitted likely won’t be for long. Flight data recorders only have a certified 30-day life span once they’re wet.

“(The signal is) starting to fade, and we are hoping to get as much information as we can before the signal finally expires,” said Abbott.

The families of Flight 370’s 239 lost passengers, however, seem to have little confidence that any of the new information will lead to the inexplicably vanished Malaysia Airlines jet.

“Today, all they said was that they were confident,” said Steve Wang, speaking as a family representative. “But that really doesn’t mean that they have confirmed it. They didn’t use the word ‘confirm.’ So it could be that it’s a real lead, but it could also not be. I think that, at the moment, everyone needs to wait for final, confirmed information.”

Sara Bajc, partner of business executive and Flight 370 passenger, Philip Wood, also remains unpersuaded that any new progess has been made.

“Every time some official gives one of those absolute statements of ‘We’re sure it’s the pings from the black boxes’ or ‘We’re sure it’s in the ocean,’ we all crash,” Bajc told CNN’s New Day.

“Our feet get knocked out from underneath us. But then it always ends up reversing itself, and they step back from it.”

Bajc has been critical of the way things have unfolded throughout the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

“The fox is very much in charge of the henhouse here,” she told New Day.

“We’ve got a country leading the investigation who also has the primary liability in the case, and it makes us question every step that’s taken.”

Regardless, the search for Flight 370 will continue.

Images via Bing and CNN