Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 370: New signal detected by search crew beyond 30-day deadline for 'black box' batteries

Debris search area has been narrowed as Ocean Shield continues to try and pinpoint the plane's fading 'black box' pinger

As the search area being scoured for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 was hugely narrowed this morning, officials said they had detected a further signal believed to be from the plane's “black box” flight recorders.

Angus Houston, the head of the joint agency coordinating the hunt for the Boeing 777, said the new signal had been reported by an Australian P-3 Orion aircraft that has been dropping sound-locating buoys into the refined search area.

“The acoustic data will require further analysis overnight,” Houston said, adding that it shows the “potential to be from a man-made source”.

A team consisting of 13 ships and 14 planes was tasked on Thursday with looking for floating debris in a 22,300 square-mile (57,900 square-km) stretch of the southern Indian Ocean – the smallest so far.

Near that zone is a relatively tiny 500 square-mile (1,300 square-km) patch where, it is believed, the plane’s “black box” flight recorders are resting on the ocean floor.

Angus Houston, the head of the joint agency coordinating the hunt for the Boeing 777, said the Australian navy vessel Ocean Shield was there today trying to relocate signals “pinged” from the wreckage.

At the same time, Royal Australian Navy Commodore Peter Leavy explained, each buoy dropped from aircraft is dangling a hydrophone listening device about 1,000ft (300m) below the surface.

Yesterday Houston said: “I'm now optimistic that we will find the aircraft, or what is left of the aircraft, in the not too distant future.”

A document released on Thursday by the Australian government said that while the black boxes’ batteries for sending out locator signals were designed to last for 30 days, it was likely that the acoustic pingers “would continue to transmit at decreasing strength for up to 10 more days”.

Houston, a retired air force chief, said in a briefing on Wednesday that the signals seemed to have faded noticeably between Saturday and when they were relocated on Tuesday.

But he said: “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.”

The authorities want to keep narrowing in on a more precise location for the black boxes before they drop a submersible search vessel, which takes six times longer to cover the same area as the pinger locator dragged by Ocean Shield.

Once it becomes clear there is no hope of picking up further acoustic signals, the unmanned submarine Bluefin 21 will be sent down to search the sea floor.

Thursday's search area in the Indian Ocean, west of Australia, where 14 planes and 13 ships are scouring a 22,000 square-mile stretch of water for the wreckage of flight MH370 Thursday's search area in the Indian Ocean, west of Australia, where 14 planes and 13 ships are scouring a 22,000 square-mile stretch of water for the wreckage of flight MH370 Complicating matters, however, is the depth of the seafloor in the search area. The pings are emanating from 4,500 meters below the surface — which is the deepest the Bluefin 21 can dive.

“It'll be pretty close to its operating limit. It's got a safety margin of error and if they think it's warranted, then they push it a little bit,” said Stefan Williams, a professor of marine robotics at Sydney University.

Williams said it was unlikely that the wreck had fallen into the narrow Diamantina trench, which is about 5,800 meters (19,000 feet) deep, since sounds emanating from that depth would probably not have been detected by the pinger locator.


Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, carrying 239 people on board, went missing on 8 March en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, beginning 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 analysed.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Oliver
filmTV chef Jamie Oliver turned down role in The Hobbit
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
tvReview: Top Gear team flee Patagonia as Christmas special reaches its climax in the style of Butch and Sundance
News
people
Sport
Ashley Barnes of Burnley scores their second goal
footballMan City vs Burnley match report
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca alongside Harrison Ford's Han Solo in 'Star Wars'
film
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Arts and Entertainment
Tracy Emin's 1998 piece 'My Bed' on display at Christie's
artOne expert claims she did not
News
Ernesto Che Guevara and Fidel Castro, right, met at Havana Golf Club in 1962 to mock the game
newsFidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
News
Hackers revealed Oscar-winning actress Lawrence was paid less than her male co-stars in American Hustle
people
Arts and Entertainment
Clueless? Locked-door mysteries are the ultimate manifestation of the cerebral detective story
booksAs a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Sport
Robin van Persie is blocked by Hugo Lloris
footballTottenham vs Manchester United match report
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

Recruitment Genius: Business Manager

£32000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Manager is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Panel & Cabinet Wireman

£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Panel Wireman required for small electro...

Recruitment Genius: Electronics Test Engineer

£25000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SME based in East Cheshire, ...

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?