MH370 Search: Chinese Patrol Ship Picks Up a Possible Signal Coming From the Black Boxes

On what is proven to be the most difficult search in human story, last Saturday, a Chinese Patrol ship looking for signs of Malaysia Airlines MH370 has picked up signals on the frequency emitted by flight recorders.

A pinger locator deployed from the ship Haixun 01 has picked up a pulse signal on the frequency 37.5 kHz, but has not been confirmed if it comes from the black boxes of the missing airliner.

Earlier, the Australian Maritime Authority – AMSA – said in a statement that the Chinese Patrol Ship Haixun 01 has detected electronic pulse signals but “the source cannot be verified”.

Anish Patel, President of Pinger Manufacturer, Dukane Seacom said both, the Flight Data Recorder and the Voice Data Recorder would emit on the same standard beacon frequency. – ‘They are identical” He said.

The 37.5 kHz signal was detected at 4:30PM local time at a location 25 degrees south, 101 degrees east, during a period that lasted for one and a half minutes and while consistent with the frequency standard Boeing black boxes would use, it was “not exclusive” and there was a possibility the signal could be from “other equipment”.

Signal Location

Signal Location

The CCTV report report confirmed that the Haixun 01 had detected a similar signal on Friday wich lasted for 15 minutes, but the other ships around may have “disturbed” the signal at the time.

A separate report from the website of Chinese Newspaper Liberation Daily said the signal was first picked up by equipment on the patrol ship on Friday afternoon and that three team members on the ship confirmed hearing the signal.

Late Saturday, RAAF Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston (ret.) – head of the search’s Joint Agency Coordination Centre – said:  “a number of white objects on the surface were also sighted about 90 kms from the detection area.  However there is no confirmation that the objects and signals are related”.  Australian authorities are considering sending RAAF aircraft to track the area.

Meanwhile, University of Southampton oceanographer, Simon Boxal said: “a variety of things” use the same frequency as the signals reportedly detected.

“We’ve had a lot of red herrings on this whole search.  I would like to see the data confirmed, it could be a false alarm”  Mr. Boxall told CNN.

MH370 vanished 28 days ago and there are fears the beacon’s batteries might run out of power and stop sending signals.

Although black boxes beacons have a battery life of about 30 days, they have been known to continue transmitting for months longer and although the search for the missing airliner has reached its fourth week, vessels started hearing for underwater signals only in recent days.

The Pinger Locator can detect signals from the black boxes, but only 1,6 kms away.  The search for wreckage is 217.000 square kms of ocean NW of Perth.

Capt. Ivan

Photos:  AP


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