Australia’s prime minister said Friday authorities are confident that a series of signals detected in a remote patch of the Indian Ocean are coming from the Malaysia Airlines plane that went missing almost a month ago after departing from Kuala Lumpur.
“It’s been very much narrowed down because we’ve now had a series of detections, some for quite a long period of time,” Prime Minster Tony Abbott told reporters in China on Friday.
The prime minister noted that they were also running out of time when the signals would be transmitted. “Nevertheless, we’re getting to the stage where the signal from what we are very confident is the black box is starting to fade,” he said.
“We are hoping to get as much information as we can before the signal finally expires.”
The first signal was heard on Saturday and there have now been a total of four signals detected from what is believed to be the black box.
“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 4.5 kilometers beneath the sea or finally determining all that happened on that flight,” Abbott said.
Meanwhile, an Australian official said Friday a new fifth signal detected by a search plane was unlikely to be related to aircraft black boxes.
“The Australian Joint Acoustic Analysis Centre has analyzed the acoustic data and confirmed that the signal reported in the vicinity of the Australian Defense Vessel Ocean Shield is unlikely to be related to the aircraft black boxes,” Joint Agency Coordination Center Chief Angus Houston said.
“On the information I have available to me, there has been no major breakthrough in the search for MH370,” he said.
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 was carrying 239 people from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on March 8 went it mysteriously vanished on the way to Beijing. No debris from the plane has been found to date.
The prime minister said authorities have significantly narrowed in on the search area for the missing flight.
The JACC provided an update early Friday on the search for Flight MH370.
The Chief Coordinator of the Joint Agency Coordination Centre, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston (Ret’d), said an initial assessment of the possible signal detected by a RAAF AP-3C Orion aircraft yesterday afternoon has been determined as not related to an aircraft underwater locator beacon.
“The Australian Joint Acoustic Analysis Centre has analysed the acoustic data and confirmed that the signal reported in the vicinity of the Australian Defence Vessel Ocean Shield is unlikely to be related to the aircraft black boxes,” Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston (Ret’d), said.
“Further analysis continues to be undertaken by Australian Joint Acoustic Analysis Centre.
“Today Ocean Shield is continuing more focussed sweeps with the Towed Pinger Locator to try and locate further signals that may be related to the aircraft’s black boxes. It is vital to glean as much information as possible while the batteries on the underwater locator beacons may still be active.
“The AP-3C Orions continue their acoustic search, working in conjunction with Ocean Shield, with three more missions planned for today.
“A decision as to when to deploy the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle will be made on advice from experts on board the Ocean Shield and could be some days away.
“On the information I have available to me, there has been no major breakthrough in the search for MH370. I will provide a further update if, and when, further information becomes available.”