U.S. Navy officer Mark Matthews (L) speaks to the media in Perth, Australia, April 9, 2014. "Ocean Shield has been able to reacquire the signals on two more occasions, late yesterday afternoon and later last night," Angus Houston, head of Australia's Joint Agency Coordination Center (JACC) said Wednesday, adding the last signal heard was weak. (Xinhua/Xu Yanyan)
PERTH, Australia, April 9 (Xinhua) -- Australian ship Ocean Shield has reacquired two more suspicious signals in the southern Indian Ocean during an intensified search for the missing Malaysian flight MH370 on Tuesday, while the weaker receipt suggests the multinational search team is running out of time to find the wreckage before the black box battery completely expires.
"Ocean Shield has been able to reacquire the signals on two more occasions, late yesterday afternoon and later last night," Angus Houston, head of Australia's Joint Agency Coordination Center (JACC) said Wednesday, adding the last signal heard was weak.
Houston said the new detections boosted the hope that "we are searching in the right area," which is approximately 2,200 kilometers northwest of Perth.
Ocean Shield, equipped with U.S.-supplied towed pinger locater, heard these two suspicious pulse signals on Tuesday. The first one was held for about five minutes 32 seconds, the other one was held for around seven minutes.
Regarding the previous two detections on last Saturday and Sunday, Houston said data analysis of the signals confirmed that they were consistent with aircraft black boxes and it must be from a man-made device.
Assessment indicates that "the transmission was not of natural origin and was likely sourced from specific electronic equipment," he told reporters.
Experts "believe the signals to be consistent with the specification and description of a flight data recorder," Houston said.
The chief searcher also displayed reporters a map of the area where four signals were detected since last Saturday. It can be seen that the four locations were 10-20 km from each other.
Though the new detections were "great lead" and he is " optimistic to find the missing aircraft," Houston cautioned that there is still a long way to go and no final conclusion can be made until "somebody sees the wreckage."
According to him, more signal detections are needed to refine the exact position and no robot submersible would be deployed before that, even they already had four detections.
"The better Ocean Shield can define the area, the easier it would be for the autonomous vehicle to search aircraft wreckage," he said, adding "Ocean Shield can search six times the amount of area with a towed pinger locator, than can be done with a sonar on the underwater vehicle."
It took 20 days for the Air France aircraft search team to find the wreckage with a underwater vehicle, even after they thought they already had a good fix of the location, stressed Houston.
Houston also admitted the black box battery of MH370 would fade very soon since Tuesday was day 33 after the plane went missing, saying "we need to make hay while the sun shines...and we need to get as much positional data as we can".
According to the search task force commander, Commodore Peter Leavy, one Australian AP-3C aircraft would soon fly to the detected area and drop sonar buoys to help better fix the position.
"They (the buoys) can cover a broader area at one time and any information they pick up can help the Ocean Shield to narrow the geographic area," said U.S. Navy Captain Mark Matthews.
Regarding the electronic detection by the Chinese ship Haixun 01, Houston said the ship hadn't received any more signals since its first report on last Sunday.
Up to 11 military planes, four civil planes and 14 ships will assist in Wednesday's search for the missing Malaysian flight MH370, according to the JACC.
The search area is expected to be approximately 75,423 square kilometers, and the center of the search area is approximately 2, 261 kilometers north west of Perth.
A weak front is moving in from the south east, expected to bring scattered showers.
A Chinese IL-76 transport aircraft took off at about 6:00 local time (22:00 on Tuesday GMT) from the Perth International Airport to conduct searching in an area about 2,000 kilometers to Perth, said a press liaison official with China's embassy to Australia.
Floating objects spotted in area where Ocean Shield detects signals
ABOARD HAIXUN 01, April 9 (Xinhua) -- Multiple floating objects were spotted by patrol aircraft in an area where Australian ship Ocean Shield detected suspicious signals, officials at Chinese patrol ship Haixun 01 said Wednesday.
Haixun 01 is heading to a search zone of about 75,000 square kilometers where the objects were spotted, at about 20 degrees south latitude and 98 degrees east longitude, to assist in the search for the missing Malaysian jet MH370. Full story
Ships try to pick up suspicious signals detected by Haixun 01
ABOARD PATROL SHIP HAIXUN 01, April 8 (Xinhua) -- Four Chinese and British vessels are trying to pick up the suspicious pulse signals detected by Chinese patrol ship Haixun 01 in an expanded search area on Tuesday.
Haixun 01, searching for missing Malaysian passenger jet MH370, detected on Friday a pulse signal with a frequency of 37.5 kHz -- the same as those emitted by flight recorders, and re-detected on Saturday the pings for 90 seconds just two km away from the original spot.Full story
Search continues for Malaysian flight MH370
PERTH, Australia, April 8 (Xinhua) -- Up to 11 military planes, three civil planes and 14 ships will assist in Tuesday's search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, the Joint Agency Coordination Center (JACC) for the international search efforts said in a media release.
The search area is approximately 77,580 square kilometers, and good weather is expected throughout the day. Full story
Chinese vessels to enhance underwater search for missing flight
BEIJING, April 7 (Xinhua) -- Chinese vessels would enhance underwater search for the Malaysian flight MH370, now missing for 31 days, said a senior Chinese maritime official on Monday.
Chief of China Maritime Search and Rescue Center He Jianzhong called upon Chinese search forces to increase communication with Australian counterparts and coordinate search operations under water, on ocean surface and in the air. Full story