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PERTH, Australia (AP) - A ship searching for the missing Malaysian jet has detected two more underwater signals, raising hopes the wreckage of the plane will be spotted soon, the Australian official in charge of the search said Wednesday.
Angus Houston, the head of a joint agency coordinating the search for the missing plane in the southern Indian Ocean, said that the Australian navy's Ocean Shield picked up the two signals in a sweep on Tuesday.
"I think we are looking in the right area but I am not prepared to confirm anything until such time someone lays eyes on the wreckage," he said.
The Ocean Shield first detected the sounds late Saturday and early Sunday before losing them, but managed to find them again on Tuesday, Houston said. The ship is equipped with a U.S. Navy towed pinger locator that is designed to pick up signals from a plane's black boxes - the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder.
"Hopefully in a matter of days, we will be able to find something on the bottom that might confirm that this is the last resting place of MH370," Houston said at a news conference in Perth, the starting point for the search in the southern Indian Ocean.
"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," he said.
"And I would just like to have that hard evidence ... photograph evidence (before saying). that this is the final resting place of MH370," Houston said.
Finding the sound again is crucial to narrowing the search area so a small submarine can be deployed to chart a potential debris field on the seafloor, which is about 4,500 meters (14,800 feet) deep. If the autonomous sub was used now with the sparse data collected so far, covering all the potential places from which the pings might have come would take many days.
"The better Ocean Shield can define the area, the easier it will be for the autonomous underwater vehicle to subsequently search for aircraft wreckage," Houston said.
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 carrying 239 people went missing March 8 on a trip from Kuala Lumpur, setting off one of aviation's biggest mysteries. The search has shifted from waters off of Vietnam, to the Strait of Malacca and then finally to waters in the southern Indian Ocean as data from radar and satellites was further analyzed.
The locator beacons on the black boxes have a battery life of only about a month - and Tuesday marked exactly one month since the plane vanished. Once the beacons blink off, locating the black boxes in such deep water would be an immensely difficult, if not impossible, task.
Associated Press writers Kristen Gelineau in Sydney, and Rod McGuirk in Canberra, Australia, contributed to this report.
With today's technology why wouldn't the information being stored in the black boxes be recorded back on land somewhere instead? Use satellites to transfer the information. Get rid of the box. That way finding the black boxes wouldn't be so critical and maybe the location could be located sooner. Just a thought.
May God Bless the efforts of the Crew that is working tirelessly to give hope to us all, on behalf of the families of those that has lost their loved ones.
AMEN !! LENE
I hope they finally give us some information about what happen with these poor people and inform their families for better understanding.
To find the black boxes is to find the last voices heard in the cockpit. We have modern equipment capable of making it to the bottom and retrieving them. I pray we do find them and dispel all the nonsense theories out there.
Truth is they also got incredibly lucky and just happened to pass the spot in the way to the search area.Yes finding pings is hard....unless you happen to be exactly the right area. There is a LOT of underwater noise in the sea.
God speed...your direction...lot of work..and money well spent, thank you all...every country involved.
We need to upgrade the tracking method used by Aircraft if this can happen. The money spent to locate this single plane probabally would have covered a decent part of it. If this was a terrorist act, it was carefully planned and executed to create extreme financial loss.
And from this babble, you have reached WHAT intelligent conclusion?
You seem to have a comprehension problem. I understood exactly what they were getting at.
I do hope the family's learns the final resting place of their loved ones.
I hope the plane is found for the sake of the families and friends of all those on board. I pray for them
I hope this isn't a false lead.The families of the passengers need the facts.