Australia, which coordinates the search for missing Malaysia Airlines plane, announced that the Chinese ship, which is located in the South Indian Ocean, detected a signal for the second time. Ship detected the second signal only a few hours after the first one, less than 2 kilometers away from the first location. British Navy ship HMS Echo, equipped with advanced devices, also caught broadcast of the signal. In this area, the sea is up to 4.5 kilometers deep. Planes and ships from other parts of the Indian Ocean were redirected to the area where the Chinese ship detected the signal. “On Saturday afternoon, we detected another signal, less than two kilometers away from the first one,” the head of search campaigns, Angus Houston confirmed. The second signal lasted about 90 seconds.
According to Houston, this is “the most important and encouraging trace so far.” The search area is about 1,700 kilometers west of the Australian city of Perth. The last few days, they have reinforced the search and also included submersibles, since the black box signal will broadcast for only few days more. Huston also reported that Australian ship Ocean Shield detected another signal at another location. The latest information regarding the search for missing Malaysian Airlines plane indicates that investigators are approaching the discovery of the plane’s black box and the disclosure of what happened on March 8, when the airplane disappeared on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Huston told the families that news are encouraging but first they have to confirm that the first or second detected signal came from the missing Malaysia Airlines plane.
British Navy ship HMS Echo will join the search in the early hours of Monday. Australian ship Ocean Shield, equipped for detecting underwater signals, will also sail to the search area but will first investigate the area where it detected the signal on Saturday. Houston also revealed that on the basis of the corrected satellite data, they determined that the search should be more focused on the southern part of the area they are currently investigating. “The entire existing search area remains the most probable area of the Malaysia Airlines plane’s crash into the sea, but on the basis of new evidence, the southern area is now a higher priority,” Huston said.
The search operation involves 26 countries. 11 ships, 10 military and three civilian planes are investigating an area of 217,000 square kilometers. Search is focused on the black box, because the battery life is running out. It is expected that the black box will stop working on Monday, as the plane crashed on March 8 and the battery usually empties in approximately 30 days. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has stressed that finding the Malaysia Airlines plane is “the most difficult search in the history of mankind” and that the success of search campaigns is uncertain. “It will be a really big success if they find the black box,” said Bill Schofield, an Australian scientist who is engaged in the development of black boxes. After the second signal was detected, search for Malaysian Airlines plane continues on the locations of the signals.
By Janette Verdnik