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Flight MH370: Finding black boxes ‘matter of urgency’

WATCH: More signals have been detected as the desperate search for Flight MH370 continues. Alphonso Van Marsh reports

LATEST UPDATES:

  • 15 planes and 14 ships are scouring a 75,427 square kilometre area that extends from 2,261 kilometres northwest of Perth
  • Officials are hoping to find something from the plane on the ocean surface to confirm the aircraft entered the water in that area
  • Japanese P3C aircraft on their way to Perth to join international search effort
  • How live-streaming black box data could prevent another Flight MH370 disaster

An analysis of the latest underwater signals picked up by a ship searching for a missing Malaysian airliner is providing reason for some optimism.

READ MORE: Search teams fail to relocate ‘pings’ that could be from black box

The head of the search effort says two sounds detected in the same area of the Indian Ocean off Perth last weekend are consistent with a plane’s black boxes. Angus Houston also says the two signals were picked up again Tuesday.

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Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 vanished March 8 with 239 people on board, including two Canadians.

READ MORE: How live-streaming black box data could prevent another Flight MH370 disaster

The two signals detected on Saturday lasted two hours and 20 minutes and 13 minutes, respectively; the sounds heard Tuesday lasted just 5 and a half minutes and 7 minutes.

‘Matter of urgency’

Finding the black boxes is a matter of urgency, because the locator beacons have a battery life of only about a month – and Tuesday marked exactly one month since the plane vanished. Once the beacons blink off, locating the black boxes in such deep water would be an immensely difficult, if not impossible, task.

READ MORE:  ‘Most promising lead’ as possible signals from lost jet’s black boxes heard

Officials acknowledged Wednesday that they were running out of time, and noted that the signals picked up on Tuesday were weaker and briefer than the ones heard over the weekend – suggesting that, if they are coming from the plane’s black boxes, the batteries are dying.

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Japanese aircraft to join international search effort

Two Japanese aircrafts departed from Malaysia’s Subang airbase on Wednesday for Pearce Airbase in Perth, Australia, to help with the ongoing search operations.

READ MORE: ‘We will not give up’ says Malaysia PM, search for missing jet continues

“The mission which they are going to discharge is to fly into the surface of southern Indian Ocean to try to find as much as possible the debris with a number of advanced devices, including radars,” said Makio Miyagawa, Japanese ambassador to Malaysia.

According to Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force Commander, Hideki Jufuku, the two Japanese aircraft will replace the P3C aircraft in Perth that is already assisting with the aerial search operations.

The planes are expected to arrive in Perth on Wednesday evening.

Family marks birthday of passenger

Chinese relatives of a missing passenger held birthday celebrations for him on Tuesday.

Xie Xincui holds a mobile phone showing a photo of her son Feng Dong, a passenger on board the Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 at a hotel where relatives gather to wait for news of the missing plane in Beijing, China, Tuesday, April 8, 2014. AP Photo/Ng Han Guan

The family of Feng Dong sobbed as they lit birthday candles for his 21st birthday in his absence.

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Feng’s father said that he hadn’t seen his son in almost a year.

 – with files from The Associated Press

 

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