MH37O: Angus Houston confirms signal detected by Ocean Shield are consistent with black box

Posted on Apr 7 2014 - 12:02pm by IBC News

This map shows the new search zone in the hunt for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. Source: News Corp Australia

IN A major development in the search for MH370, Angus Houston has confirmed the Ocean Shield has detected signals consistent with aircraft black boxes, describing the lead as the most promising yet.

Air Chief Marshal Houston called the development significant, saying “this is the most promising lead, probably in the search so far, it’s probably the best information we’ve hadâ€.

The search coordinator told reporters more signals have been detected by a towed pinger locator deployed by the Australian vessel Ocean Shield.

“Today, I can report some very encouraging information which has unfolded over the last 24 hours,†he told reporters in Perth.

Air Chief Marshal Houston said the signals are “consistent with those emitted by aircraft black boxes.â€

“Two separate signal detections have occurred within the northern part of the defined search area.â€

The first was held for more than two hours, the second for about 13 minutes.

“On this occasion, two distinct pinger returns were audible.â€

The towed pinger locator on the deck of the Australian vessel Ocean Shield.

He said both would be consistent with transmissions from the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder.

Air Chief Marshal Houston described the find as “the most promising lead†yet.

“We haven’t found the aircraft yet,†he stressed, arguing further confirmation is needed.

Air Chief Marshal Houston said the position of the signals would need to be fixed before an autonomous underwater vehicle ‘Blue Fin 21’ could be deployed to locate wreckage.

“The area in which the signals have been received has a depth of approximately 4,500 metres,†he warned, adding it is also the “limit of capability of the autonomous underwater vehicle.â€

He further argued it could take time to establish with certainty if the detections are from MH370.

“You’re right, the life of the batteries must be getting somewhere close to the end of life,†he admitted, when asked about the black box.

“We’re already one day past the advertised shelf life. We hope that it keeps going for a little bit longer,†he said.