Thursday, June 21, 2018

More ‘pings’ raise hope missing jet will be found

Published: 4/10/14 @ 12:00

Associated Press

PERTH, Australia

Planes and ships hunting for the missing Malaysian jetliner zeroed in on a targeted patch of the Indian Ocean today, after a navy ship picked up underwater signals that are consistent with a plane’s black box.

Today’s search zone was the smallest yet in the monthlong search for Flight 370 — 22,364 square miles of ocean — and comes a day after the Australian official in charge of the search expressed hope that crews were closing in on the “final resting place” of the vanished jet.

Angus Houston, who is coordinating the search off Australia’s west coast, said Wednesday that equipment on the Australian vessel Ocean Shield had picked up two sounds from deep below the surface Tuesday, and an analysis of two other sounds detected in the same general area Saturday showed they were consistent with a plane’s flight recorders, or “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,” Houston said Wednesday.

No further sounds had been picked up overnight, Houston’s search coordination center said today. But the Ocean Shield was continuing its hunt, slowly dragging a U.S. Navy pinger locator through the ocean’s depths, hoping to find the signal again and get a more specific fix on its location.

Meanwhile, 14 planes and 13 ships were looking for floating debris across the search zone, which extends from 1,400 miles northwest of Perth, and China’s Haixun 01 was using underwater acoustic equipment to search for signals in an area several hundred miles south of the Ocean Shield. A “large number of objects” had been spotted by searchers combing the area Wednesday, but the few that had been retrieved by search vessels were not believed to be related to the missing plane, the coordination center said.

Search crews already have looked in the area they were crisscrossing today, but were moving in tighter patterns, now that the search zone has been narrowed to about a quarter the size it was a few days ago, Houston said.

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