PERTH, Australia: Authorities are confident that signals detected deep in the Indian Ocean are from the missing Malaysian jet’s black boxes, Australia’s prime minister said, raising hopes they are close to solving one of aviation’s most perplexing mysteries.
Tony Abbott said in Shanghai that crews hunting for Flight 370 have zeroed in on a more targeted area in their search for the source of the sounds, first heard on Saturday.
“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 said.
“Nevertheless, we’re getting into the stage where the signal from what we are very confident is the black box is starting to fade,” he added.
“We are hoping to get as much information as we can before the signal finally expires.”
The plane’s black boxes, or flight data and cockpit voice recorders, may hold the answers to why the Boeing 777 lost communications and veered so far off course when it vanished March 8 while flying from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing with 239 people on board.
Search crews are racing against time because the batteries powering the devices’ locator beacons last only about a month — and more than a month has passed since the plane disappeared. Finding the black boxes after the batteries fail will be extremely difficult because the water in the area is 4,500 meters deep.
The Australian ship Ocean Shield is towing a US Navy device that detects black box signals, and two sounds it heard Saturday were determined to be consistent with the signals emitted from aircraft flight recorders.