Malaysia’s defense minister broke the first good news regarding the search for Flight 370 in weeks, announcing on April 6 that an Australian vessel detected pings in the southern Indian Ocean that are consistent with ones that would be sent out by the black box belonging to the Malaysian aircraft. Maybe miracles do happen?
Search teams believe they have their “most promising” lead yet in the efforts to find Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, as the Australian vessel Ocean Shield picked up ping signals that authorities believe to be from the plane’s flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder. Bolstering their claim, the ping signals had a frequency designed exclusively for recorders — a sound not occurring in nature, according to CNN. Now the race is on to physically locate the source of the pings.
Malaysia Flight 370 Black Box Pings Detected
The Ocean Shield was tugging a sophisticated U.S. pinger locator about 1,100 miles northwest of Perth, Australia when it detected the frequencies. There were two in total, and both lasted for a significantly long time. The first went on for more than two hours, and the second lasted about 13 minutes. These sounds were heard in a part of the Indian Ocean that’s about 14,800 feet deep, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston told reporters on April 6.
“The audible signal sounds to me just like an emergency locator beacon,” Houston said. “We are encouraged that we are very close to where we need to be.”
However, there are still many steps to go before search teams can determine that the pings belong to Flight 370, and then possibly find the wreckage and salvage important components so that experts can finally determine what happened to cause this mysterious, tragic event. “In very deep oceanic water, nothing happens fast,” Houston asserted. “I would ask all of you to treat this information cautiously and responsibly… We haven’t found the aircraft yet.”
Malaysia Authority: ‘Miracles Do Happen’
But Malaysian Defense Minister Hishammudin Hussein seemed optimistic and excited about the first solid, positive news surrounding Flight 370’s disappearance in a long time.
“Miracles do happen,” Hussein said at the same press conference. While adding that the new information “did not indicate or show survivors,” he also said, “We continue to hope and pray for survivors. We are just hoping against hope.”
It is encouraging to finally have a real lead, even if it may take a long time before search teams are able to follow up on it.
— Andrew Gruttadaro