Plane search teams detect new pings

Two new 'ping' signals picked up, injecting fresh confidence into the search for missing Malaysian jetliner.

    Australian officials say that two new "ping" signals have been detected in the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, injecting fresh confidence into the search that has been struggling with a lack of information.

    Angus Houston, head of the Australian agency coordinating the search, told reporters on Wednesday that the first ping was detected on Tuesday afternoon and lasted more than five minutes while a second was picked up on Tuesday night and lasted seven minutes.

    "I believe we are searching in the right area but we need to visually identify aircraft wreckage before we can confirm with certainty that this is the final resting place of MH370," Houston said.

    On the weekend, a US Navy "towed pinger locator" picked up two signals consistent with black box locator beacons, the first for more than two hours and the second for about 13 minutes.

    Black boxes

    The black boxes record cockpit data and may provide answers about what happened to the plane, which was carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew when it vanished on March 8 and flew thousands of kilometres away from its Kuala Lumpur-Beijing route.

    However, the batteries in the beacons have already reached the end of their 30-day expected life, making efforts to swiftly locate them all the more critical.

    Authorities say evidence suggests the plane was deliberately diverted by someone familiar with the aircraft, but have not ruled out mechanical problems.

    Analysis of satellite data led investigators to conclude the Boeing 777 came down in a remote area of the Indian Ocean near Perth.

    The search is now centred on an area approximately 2,261km northwest of that city.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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