Missing flight MH370: Royal Navy's HMS Echo joins race to verify black box 'pings' in search for missing jet in Indian Ocean

Three separate 'pings' have now been detected from deep in the Indian Ocean

As the authorities searching for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 race to investigate a series of potential black box 'pings' in the Indian Ocean, a senior official has reportedly claimed that the plane was "steered" around Indonesian airspace.

A senior Malaysian government source reportedly said the Boeing 777 curved north of Indonesia after it dropped of Malaysian military radar, according to further analysis of tracking data from neighbouring countries.

It apparently avoided Indonesia and its airspace altogether before turning again towards the southern Indian Ocean. The source told CNN such a route may have been taken intentionally in order to avoid radar detection.

Meanwhile, the man responsible for leading the search in Australia said that sounds detected from deep within the Indian Ocean represent an "important and encouraging lead".

Three separate signals have now been detected by ships hunting for the wreckage of the Boeing 777, two of which came from within just 2 km (1.25 miles) of each other.

The Royal Navy's HMS Echo, which carries sophisticated equipment for detecting underwater signals, was tasked with heading to the investigate the small patch of the search zone.

On Sunday, an Australian ship also equipped with a so-called "pinger locator" received a third signal in a different part of the search area around 300 nautical miles (555 km) away.

The earlier signals were reported by a Chinese patrol vessel as being at the same frequency emitted by flight data recorders aboard missing planes - 37.5 kilohertz.

"This is an important and encouraging lead, but one which I urge you to treat carefully," retired Australian Air Chief Marshall Angus Houston told reporters in Perth.

He stressed the signals had not been verified as linked to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which was travelling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing when it disappeared on 8 March with 239 people on board.

"We have an acoustic event. The job now is to determine the significance of that event. It does not confirm or deny the presence of the aircraft locator on the bottom of the ocean," Houston said, referring to each of the three transmissions.

Houston confirmed that the Chinese ship Haixun 01 detected a signal again on Saturday within 2 km (1.4 miles) of the original signal, for 90 seconds. He said that China also reported seeing white objects floating in the sea in the area. He added that HMS Echo was expected to arrive in the area within the next two days.

The Australian navy's Ocean Shield, which is carrying high-tech sound detectors from the US Navy, will also head there, but would first investigate the sound it picked up in its current region.

Retired Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston (right) addresses the media in Perth Retired Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston (right) addresses the media in Perth He said Australian air force assets were also being deployed on Sunday into the Haixun 01's area to try to confirm or discount the signals relevance to the search.

After weeks of fruitless looking, the multinational search team is racing against time to find the sound-emitting beacons and cockpit voice recorders that could help unravel the mystery of the plane. The beacons in the black boxes emit "pings" so they can be more easily found, but the batteries only last for about a month.

Investigators believe Flight 370 veered way off course and came down somewhere in the southern Indian Ocean, though they have not been able to explain why it did so.

The US Navy's towed pinger locator (TPL-25) sits on the deck of the Australian Defence Vessel Ocean Shield The US Navy's towed pinger locator (TPL-25) sits on the deck of the Australian Defence Vessel Ocean Shield The Chinese crew reportedly picked up the signals using a hand-held sonar device called a hydrophone dangled over the side of a small runabout — something experts said was technically possible but extremely unlikely.

The equipment aboard the Ocean Shield and the HMS Echo are dragged slowly behind each ship over long distances and are considered far more sophisticated than those the Chinese crew was using.

Read more: Signals in Indian Ocean could be aircraft's black box
AirAsia apologises over claim that 'pilots will never lose a plane'
What is a black box and how do you find one?
UK submarine joins search for missing plane
The Chinese Maritime Safety Administration (MSA) ship MV Xaixun 01 during a visit to Australia in 2013. Crew members reported hearing signals from within the search area on Friday and Saturday The Chinese Maritime Safety Administration (MSA) ship MV Xaixun 01 during a visit to Australia in 2013. Crew members reported hearing signals from within the search area on Friday and Saturday

Footage aired on China's state-run CCTV showed crew members in the small boat with a device shaped like a large soup can attached to a pole. It was hooked up by cords to electronic equipment in a padded suitcase as they poked the device into the water.

"If the Chinese have discovered this, they have found a new way of finding a needle in a haystack," said aviation expert Geoffrey Thomas, editor-in-chief of AirlineRatings.com. "Because this is amazing. And if it proves to be correct, it's an extraordinarily lucky break."

Additional reporting by AP

Sport
The giant banner displayed by Legia Warsaw supporters last night
football
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
News
news
Sport
footballPremiership preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's matches
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
News
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
people
Arts and Entertainment
Tulisa as a judge on the X Factor in 2012
tvLouis Walsh confirms star's return
Life and Style
fashionClothes shop opens on Bill Clinton Boulevard in Pristina
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Project Manager - Pensions

£32000 - £38000 Per Annum Bonus, Life Insurance + Other Benefits: Clearwater P...

Project Coordinator - Cisco Partner - £110 p/d

£110 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Project Coordinator (SC Cleared), Cisco Go...

KYC Analyst, Birmingham - £200-£250 p/d

£200 - £250 per day + competitive: Orgtel: KYC Analyst, Key Banking Client, Bi...

Test Manager - Banking - Yorkshire - £450 per day

£400 - £500 per day: Orgtel: Test Manager - Banking - West Yorkshire - £400-£5...

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone