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Flight MH370: Possible 5th underwater signal heard in jet search

LATEST UPDATES

  • Experts analyze ping data as search planes resume hunt for MH370
  • Thursday’s search zone was the smallest yet
  • 14 planes and 13 ships are looking for floating debris

An Australian official says a search crew hunting for the missing Malaysian jet has located a new possible underwater signal.

The co-ordinator of the search off Perth says an Australian navy aircraft picked up a signal Thursday, in the same area a ship first heard sounds that are consistent with an airplane’s black boxes.

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

The aircraft has dropped sound-locating buoys in a pattern near where the signals were last heard.

Finding the flight data and cockpit voice recorders soon is important because their locator beacons have a battery life of about a month, and Tuesday marked one month since Flight 370 vanished en route from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing with 239 people aboard.

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‘Smallest search area yet’

Thursday’s search zone was the smallest yet in the month-long hunt for Flight 370, and comes a day after the Australian official in charge of the search expressed hope that crews were closing in on the “final resting place” of the vanished jet.

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

Fourteen planes and 13 ships were looking for floating debris across the 57,900 square kilometre search zone, about 2,300 kilometresnorthwest of Perth.

Hearing more underwater ‘pings’ raises hopes

Angus Houston, who is co-ordinating the search off Australia’s west coast, said Wednesday that equipment on the Australian vessel Ocean Shieldpicked up two sounds from deep below the surface on Tuesday, and an analysis of two other sounds detected in the same general area on Saturday showed they were consistent with a plane’s flight recorders.

READ MORE: Finding black boxes ‘matter of urgency’

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

– with files from The Associated Press

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