UK & World News

  • 10 April 2014, 9:35

Missing Plane: Search Narrowed In MH370 Hunt

The hunt for missing flight MH370 has been narrowed to a 22,000-square-mile search area as Australian authorities express optimism about a breakthrough.

Ten military aircraft, four civil planes and 13 ships have joined the search effort a day after two further signals were detected in the southern Indian Ocean.

The Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) announced that the search will now focus on 22,364 square miles of the Indian Ocean.

The area has been narrowed by 12,400 square miles on Tuesday's operation.

An underwater search is also in operation today, with the ADV Ocean Shield scouring the northern end of the defined search zone.

The Chinese ship Haixun 01 and HMS Echo are also in operation at the southern end.

The narrowed search effort comes after aircraft and ships reported spotting several objects during yesterday's operation

JACC said in a statement that none of the items are believed to be associated with MH370.

However, search coordinator Angus Houston has expressed "optimism" about the ongoing effort.

"I'm now optimistic that we will find the aircraft, or what is left of the aircraft, in the not too distant future," he said.

"But we haven't found it yet, because this is a very challenging business."

ADV Ocean Shield picked up two fresh signals on Tuesday which match a pair of transmissions logged on the weekend.

It brings the total number of times the signal has been detected by the vessel to four.

A search source told Sky News that no further pings had been recorded so far during Thursday's search.

"No further acoustic events have been detected at this time," a JACC spokesman said.

"Ocean Shield is not yet at the point of deploying its Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV).

"Ocean Shield is continuing its search in an attempt to localise the detection of the signal.

"The more Ocean Shield can refine the area with the Towed Pinger Locator, the less area the AUV will be required to cover."

An analysis of the earlier signals found they were stable, distinct and clear sounds that had a consistent pulse, indicating they were from a plane's black box.

China's Haixun 01 vessel initially reported some acoustic signals south of where the Ocean Shield sounds were detected.

But Mr Houston said the signals heard by the Chinese ship have not occurred again.

The data recorders could provide critical information about what happened to the aircraft, which disappeared on March 8 with 239 people on board.

Advertisement