MH370 searchers hear signals: As it happened

Key Points

  • An Australian ship has detected two signals consistent with those from aircraft "black box" flight recorders
  • Ocean Shield acquired the signal twice, once for more than two hours, Australia says
  • Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, leading the search, called it the "most promising lead" so far
  • The signal was heard in sea with a depth of 4,500m (14,800ft)
  • A Chinese search vessel also said it briefly heard signals over the weekend in a different search area
  • All times GMT

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  1.  
    08:00:

    Welcome to the BBC's live coverage of the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, as an Australian ship detects signals potentially from an aircraft black box data recorder in the Indian Ocean. Stay with us for the latest updates - reports from our correspondents, analysis and your reaction from around the world. You can contact us via email, text or Twitter.

     
  2.  
    08:03:

    Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, the head of a joint agency co-ordinating the search in the southern Indian Ocean, warned that it could take days to confirm whether the signals picked up by the Australian navy ship Ocean Shield are indeed from the flight recorders on flight MH370, but called the discovery the "most promising lead" so far.

     
  3.  
    Angus Houston points to a graphic of the search area during a media conference in Perth ACM Houston points to a graphic of the search area during a media conference in Perth, Australia
     
  4.  
    08:14:

    ACM Houston said the signals were detected using the Towed Pinger Locator deployed on the Ocean Shield. It picked up signals on one occasion for 2 hours and 20 minutes and for a second time for 13 minutes.

     
  5.  
    Jon Donnison BBC News, Sydney

    tweets: Trying to locate #MH370 signals painstaking work. Ocean Shield dragging Towed Ping Locator on long cable takes 3 hours just to turn round.

     
  6.  
    08:33:

    ACM Houston said two distinct pinger returns could be heard: "Significantly this would be consistent with transmissions from both the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder," he said.

     
  7.  
    08:42:

    The device on the missing plane that makes those signals is made by US company Dukane Seacom. Its director, Chris Portale, told the BBC Radio 4's Today programme that looking for the MH370 black box was like "looking for a suitcase on the side of a mountain" but under water.

     
  8.  
    08:44:

    Mr Portale adds: "You've got two potential sites in the area that they are reviewing so I believe they are in the right area. I believe they have got three to four more days of good, solid output - where if they are spending the resources there and they are close by - and one of those hits... is actually real - they have a very good hope of at least spotting the wreckage."

     
  9.  
    09:00: Richard Westcott BBC Transport Correspondent

    explains in this video exactly what those searching for the plane's wreckage are up against.

     
  10.  
    09:10:

    The plane, carrying 239 people, was flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on 8 March when it disappeared. Malaysian officials say they believe it crashed in the southern Indian Ocean.

     
  11.  
    09:24:

    Nine military planes, three civilian planes and 14 ships are taking part in the search operation on Monday. The search covers an area of 234,000 sq km (90,000 sq miles), and good weather conditions are expected.

     
  12.  
    A handout photo taken released on 5 April 2014 by Australian Defence shows the towed pinger locator being towed by Australian Defence Vessel Ocean Shield Australian navy ship Ocean Shield is dragging the Towed Pinger Locator which detected the signals
     
  13.  
    10:35:

    Malaysian acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein says at a news conference in Kuala Lumpur that following Monday morning's developments, the Malaysian authorities were "cautiously hopeful" that there would be some positive developments in the "next few days if not hours".

     
  14.  
    10:56:

    US Navy Captain Mark Matthews says the speed of the search is important, as the Towed Pinger Locator can only find the location while the beacons are emitting signals: "If the pingers are no longer transmitting, we're not going to hear it with the Towed Pinger Locator. However... our focus right now is using that because it has the greatest detection range," he said.

     
  15.  
    10:57:

    Capt Matthews adds: "But after the period of time when the acoustic beacons are no longer emitting, eventually there needs to be a shift into a site scan sonar search - much shorter detection range, much slower process, and I'm sure at that time, whether we acquire it or not with the Towed Pinger Locator now, the area we're in will certainly be a high priority area to conduct that sonar search."

     
  16.  
    Richard Westcott BBC Transport Correspondent

    tweets: #MH370 even with all that kit, I can not tell you how amazing it is IF they have found the black boxes in a search area that big....not

     
  17.  
    Richard Westcott BBC Transport Correspondent

    tweets: #mh370 ...one expert I spoke to thought it wd happen. Still no confirmation yet though...

     
  18.  
    11:21:

    That brings to an end our live coverage of the continuing search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 after an Australian ship detected signals potentially from aircraft "black box" data recorders. Please stay with the BBC News website for all the latest updates.

     

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