A Chinese ship involved in the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 reported hearing a pulse signal in the Indian Ocean on April 5 that had the same frequency emitted by the missing jet's data recorders, the Associated Press reported.
A search team left from Australia recently in an increasingly urgent hunt to find the black box recorders of the plane, which may hold vital information about the aircraft's final hours. Military and civilian planes, ships with deep-sea searching equipment, and a British nuclear submarine are among the search crew.
Although the pulse heard Saturday is consistent with those of an airplane's black box, a statement issued by the Joint Agency Coordination Center said it could not verify that the Chinese ship, Haixun 01, detected electronic pulse signals related to MH370.
In the statement, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston said:
"I have been advised that a series of sounds have been detected by a Chinese ship in the search area. 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."
Update — April 7, 12:15 a.m. ET: Ships scouring the Indian Ocean detected a signal in a different area of the sea on Sunday, the Associated Press reported.
A pinger locator in the Indian Ocean has detected signals consistent with those emitted by aircraft black boxes, the Australian Air Chief Marshal Houston, who is coordinating the search for the missing jet's two black boxes, said Monday.
The sounds were heard at a depth of about 14,764 feet.
"We've got a visual indication on a screen, and we've also got an audible signal. And the audible signal sounds to me just like an emergency locator beacon," Houston said.
"We have a promising lead," Houston said, "but we have yet to get confirming evidence."
The search for the missing flight and its black boxes are a race against time, as the equipment's battery are likely on the verge of dying out.