MH370: Possible black box recorder signal
The pinger locator deployed by Australia’s Ocean Shield defense vessel, has detected signals alike those produced by a black box flight recorder. A long, consistent underwater signal was picked up for two hours and 20 minutes. It was a visual representation on a screen, as well as an audible signal sounding like an emergency locator beacon.
Retired Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, leading the search effort, says it is the “most promising lead” so far in the search for the missing flight MH370. Even so, he has warned that it could take numerous days to certainly link the signals to the missing flight.
The signal was lost for 13 minutes before being detected for a second time. Then two distinct pinger returns were heard that is consistent with transmissions from the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder, according to Houston.
Ocean Shield also picked up an “acoustic noise” and two electronic pulse signals were identified by the Chinese ship Haixun 01, earlier.
What from here on regarding MH370?
Ocean Shield will stay in the area until it can confirm or decline the detections as being from MH370 – it could take days.
When the position of the signal is identified, the Ocean Shield will lower the underwater vessel Bluefin-21, a sonar device, which will search the sea floor for wreckage. If it detects something unusual, it will be brought back to the surface to be fitted with a video recorder and sent back to film the area.
It is now past the advertised shelf life of the distress locator beacon on black boxes. From now on, the sonar-detecting role of the Bluefin-21 will become very important. Most valuable is the ability of the Ocean Shield’s crew to reacquire the acoustic signal and narrow down the area of ocean floor where the black boxes probably are. The plan is to reduce the search zone to a three square mile rectangle.
On Monday nine military and three civilian aircraft along with 14 ships were involved in the search, the most expensive search ever.
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