- Malaysia Airlines MH370 search well into critical stage as black box dying'Pings' intensify search for Malaysia Airlines MH370 missing plane as mission turns from tough to 'impossible'Malaysia Airlines MH370's horror of watery grave: 4 crucial pointsMalaysia Airlines MH370: Ocean Shield ship hunts for more black box 'pings'
A ship searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 plane has detected two more underwater signals that may be emanating from the aircraft's black boxes, and the Australian official in charge of the search expressed hope Wednesday that the plane's wreckage will soon be found.
Angus Houston, the head of a joint agency coordinating the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 plane in the southern Indian Ocean, said that the Australian navy's Ocean Shield picked up the two signals in a sweep on Tuesday, and that analysis of two sounds detected in the same area last week showed they were consistent with a plane's black boxes.
"I'm now optimistic that we will find the aircraft, or what is left of the aircraft, in the not too distant future - but we haven't found it yet, because this is a very challenging business,'' Houston said at a news conference in Perth, the hub for the search operation.
The Ocean Shield first detected underwater sounds on Saturday before losing them, but managed to pick up the signals again on Tuesday, Houston said. The ship is equipped with a U.S. Navy towed pinger locator that is designed to detect signals from a plane's two black boxes - the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder.
A data analysis of the signals detected Saturday determined they were stable, distinct and clear sounds that pulsed consistently - indicating they were coming from a plane's black box, Houston said.
"(The analysts) therefore assess that the transmission was not of natural origin and was likely sourced from specific electronic equipment,'' Houston said. "They believe the signals to be consistent with the specification and description of a flight data recorder.''
Able Seaman Clearance Divers Matthew Johnston and Michael Arnold embarked on Australian Defence Vessel Ocean Shield, scan the water for debris in the search zone in the southern Indian Ocean for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 in this picture released by the Australian Defence Force April 8, 2014. A robotic search vehicle is likely to be sent deep into the Indian Ocean on Tuesday to look for wreckage of a missing Malaysian jetliner on the sea floor, as officials say the chance of finding anything on the surface has dwindled. Angus Houston, head of the Australian agency coordinating the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, said the month-long hunt was at a