The Australian ship towing a ‘pinger locator’ has picked up signals “consistent with those emitted by aircraft black boxes”, it has been revealed.
In a media briefing on Monday, Angus Houston, who is heading up the Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) in Australia, said that “two separate signal detections” were picked up by the Ocean Shield ship. The first signal was held for two hours 20 minutes, and the second for approximately 13 minutes.
“Two distinct pinger returns were audible. Significantly, this would be consistent with transmissions from both the Flight Data Recorder and the Cockpit Voice Recorder,” Houston told media in Perth, adding that this is “a most promising lead”.
Ocean Shield remains in the area and will try to re-acquire the signals today. Once the location has been confirmed, search teams will send down a submersible vehicle to try to identify the signal’s source.
Houston warned however, that the area in which the signals were received has a depth of approximately 4.5km, which would make any recovery effort extremely challenging.
The Chinese ship Haixun 01 initially picked up underwater signals on Saturday.