China Reports ‘Unidentified’ Ping in Southern Indian Ocean
Signal Not Confirmed to be from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370
As the presumed deadline for locating the black boxes or flight data and voice recorders from the ill-fated Malaysia Airlines jetliner looms, searchers are reporting a possible signal from the plane.
The government-run Xinhua news agency is reporting that a Chinese ship with a black-box detector picked up an “unidentified” pulse Saturday that came from the designated search area in the southern Indian Ocean.
“I have been advised that a series of sounds have been detected by a Chinese ship in the search area,” said Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, the chief coordinator of Australia’s Joint Agency Coordination Centre, which is managing the search for the missing plane. “The characteristics reported are consistent with the aircraft black box. A number of white objects were also sighted on the surface about 90 kilometres from the detection area. However, there is no confirmation at this stage that the signals and the objects are related to the missing aircraft.”
Xinhua said that a Haixun 01 patrol ship “discovered a pulse signal” with a frequency of 37.5 kilohertz, the frequency typically emitted by black-box pings.
The search for the black boxes has taken on greater urgency in the past week as the devices recorders are running low on battery power and their signals may fall silent in the coming days, depending on when their batteries were last changed.
Australian officials said they are considering moving Royal Australian Air Force “assets” to the area where the signal was detected
UPDATE 1 –April 4, 2014 at 5:56 P.M. GMT
The article has been updated to reflect additional information released by Australian officials that has become available during the day.