NEWS

Still no confirmation on detected signals

Published
Modified 6 Apr 2014, 10:34 am

Latest developments

  • Pulse signal picked up in southern Indian Ocean still not confirmed to be MH370 black box

  • Pinger batteries expected to run out today
  • Australian PM cautious on possible breakthrough
  • Up to 12 planes, 13 ships search three zones on Sunday
  • Malaysia starts formal investigation into disappearance of plane
  • Follow us as we bring the latest updates and coverage for the search of Flight MH370:

    Deliberate attempts to avoid radar detection?

    6.00pm: CNN  quotes an unnamed 'senior government officials' that MH370 was flown around Indonesian airspace before making a turn south to where search operations are underway.
    This give rise to the possibility that the plane was deliberately flown in a way to avoid radar detection.
    "This we are told is put together subsequent to receiving information from neighbouring countries about what their radars have seen. This is how this information is derived...
    "Now what this senior government official also says is that the path of the aircraft gives the impression that whoever was flying it was trying to avoid detection by Indonesian radar systems by flying around it," said a CNN reporter during a news broadcast.

    Opposition candlelight vigils in Penang, KL

    3.25pm: DAP Penang announces its candlelight vigil tomorrow at 10pm at the Speakers’ Corner of the Esplanade to mark the full month of MH370's disappearance.

    "We hope the public at large will be joining us, to pray together for the safety of 239 people boarding the MH370," says Tanjong MP Ng Wei Aik in a statement.

    "By organising such a candlelight vigil, we hope to unite everyone’s strength as well as to set our differences, in praying for the safety of those boarding the plane," he adds.

    All state reps along with DAP Penang state chairman Chow Kon Yeow will be attending, while the MPs who are in KL for Parliament will attend the concurrent vigil at Dataran Merdeka, he adds.

    Another signal detected

    1.30pm: Bernama reports another pulse signal detected in the southern Indian Ocean today by Australian Defence Vessel (ADV) Ocean Shield.

    Earlier Haixun 01 detected two short pulse signals also known as acoustic signal 36 hours ago on Friday and in the afternoon on Saturday.       

    Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) chief coordinator Angus Houston says up till now there was no verification whether to discount or to confirm the finding as the investigation was ongoing.      

    "HMS Echo is on its way to Haixun 01 ship area while Ocean Shield is investigating the signal using underwater equipment," he tells a press conference in Perth today.     

    He said the location between Haixun 01 and Ocean Shield is about 300 nautical miles.      

    Houston describes the Ocean Shield as the best ship for the task as it was equipped with towed pinger and remotely operated underwater vehicle.   

    Detected signals not identified yet

    10.20am: Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot cautions against jumping to conclusions regarding the pings detected by Chinese vessel Haixun 01 yesterday.

    “This is the most difficult search in human history. We are searching for an aircraft, which is at the bottom of a very deep ocean and it is a very, very wide search area.

    “We need to be very careful about coming to hard and fast conclusions too soon,” he says according to Reuters .

    Meanwhile, the Associated Press quotes Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University search and rescue expert William Waldock saying that the pinger’s frequency of 37.5 kilohertz is selected because there are no natural sources of this sound.

    He cautions that it could be an ‘aberrant signal’ from a nuclear submarine, but says if it is confirmed to be MH370, then it would narrow the search area to just 10 square kilometres.

    Anish Patel, president of US black box beacon manufacturer Dukane Seacom, however says he is "highly sceptical" about the report.

    "So let's get some additional assets in the water so we can corroborate, before we get everyone's hopes up. Before we disappoint these families one more time I think we need to corroborate," he tells CNN according to AFP .

    Meanwhile Charitha Pattiaratchi, a professor of coastal oceanography at the University of Western Australia, says the news is cause for at least some optimism.

    "The 37.5 kHz is a man-made noise. There's not another noise at that frequency," he tells AFP , adding this rules out other possible sources such as whales or undersea seismic activity. 

    A pinger - or underwater locator beacon - is a black box component that emits a sound upon submersion in water to help searchers find the black box, but is limited by its battery life.

    Search kicks off to good weather

    8.45am: The Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) says 12 aircraft and 13 ships will be searching for MH370 today, in three separate areas 2,000 kilometres northwest of Perth totalling about 216,000 square kilometres.

    The weather is expected to be good with visibility beyond 10 kilometres, it says in a statement this morning.

    It adds that the signal that Chinese vessel Haixun 01 detected last night “cannot be verified at this point in time”.

    8am: The search for MH370 enters its 30th day today, with the battery of its black box pingers due to fall silent in a matter of hours.

    The batteries are only designed to work for 30 days, and are not likely to work beyond tomorrow morning.

    Henceforth, underwater search efforts would have to turn to the painstaking work of mapping the seafloor with sonar for signs of wreckage.

    However, the Chinese vessel Haxtun 01 yesterday detected signals that are consistent with a black box pinger, although connection to MH370 could not be made and the signal was lost shortly after.

    According to a statement from the Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) last night, the Australian Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC) has asked its Chinese counterparts for relevant information regarding the signals.

    "The characteristics reported are consistent with an aircraft black box," he says.

    He adds that a number of white objects were also reportedly sighted on the surface of the sea about 90km from where the signal was detected.

    “The deployment of RAAF assets to the area where the Chinese ship detected the sounds is being considered.

    “I will provide further updates if, and when, more information becomes available,” says the JACC chief Angus Houston.

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