Hopes that missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 might soon be found rose and then stalled within minutes on Friday.
After an Australian aircraft detected on Thursday a signal they said possibly came from the missing plane black boxes, Australian chief search coordinator, Angus Houston informed today (Friday) that the signal is “unlikely to be related to the aircraft black boxes”.
“On the information I have available to me, there has been no major breakthrough in the search for MH370,” Houston said in a statement.
“Further analysis continues to be undertaken by Australian Joint Acoustic Analysis Centre.”
The statement came not long after Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said officials are “very confident” the signals picked up by acoustic detectors are coming from one of the data recorders the missing plane.
*Gunner Richard Brown (left) of Transit Security Element looks through binoculars as he stands on lookout with other crew members aboard the Australian Navy ship HMAS Perth as they continue to search for signs of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in the Indian Ocean.
“We have very much narrowed down the search area, and we are very confident that the signals that we are detecting are from the black box on MH370,” Abbott told reporters during an official visit to China.
It’s unclear exactly which signals Abbott was referring to. Before the fifth ping on Thursday, four other signals were detected over the past week.
“We are now getting to the stage where the signal from what we are very confident (are) the black boxes (is) starting to fade, and we are hoping to get as much information as we can before the signal finally expires,” Abbott said.
Friday is Day 35 in the search. The batteries powering the flight data recorders’ locator beacons are certified to emit high-pitched signals for only 30 days after they get wet.
A senior Malaysian government official and another source involved in the investigation divulged new details about the flight to CNN on Thursday, including information about what radar detected, the last words from the cockpit and how high the plane was flying after it went off the grid.
According to different sources, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared from military radar for about 120 nautical miles after it crossed back over the Malay Peninsula. Based on available data, this means the plane must have dipped in altitude to between 4,000 and 5,000 feet, sources said.
The dip could have been programmed into the computers controlling the plane as an emergency maneuver, said aviation expert David Soucie.