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New pings give cautious certainty in search for #MH370

In his daily briefing earlier today, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, who is leading Australia’s search operations for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 made a telling statement

“I’m now optimistic. We’ll find the aircraft or what’s left of the aircraft in the not too distant future.”

Map of ping locations found by Australian ship Ocean Shield and Chinese ship Hai Xun 01. Malaysia Airlines #MH370
Map of ping locations found by Australian ship Ocean Shield and Chinese ship Hai Xun 01.
Close-up of ping locations found by Australian ship Ocean Shield #MH370
Close-up of ping locations found by Australian ship Ocean Shield

His optimism in over a month of uncertainty was based on the fresh signals picked up by the Australian ship Ocean Shield, which led searchers to hope are pings from the locator beacons attached to the data recorders of MH370. Ocean Shield had first picked up underwater pings on Saturday, but then did not hear anything for the next three days. On Tuesday, the ship once again picked up the signals, giving searchers four sets of signals in a general vicinity of about 27 kilometres.

The search for MH370. Cumulative areas searched till April 9, 2014
The search for MH370. Cumulative areas searched till April 9, 2014

The Australian authorities confirm the signal is around 33.4 Khz, a frequency not found in nature, but is close to the frequency of the emergency locator transmitter (ELT) attached to the data recorders on board MH370. However, the sea-bed is around 4,500 metres deep in this area, and deeper in the nearby vicinity. This is about the limit for ocean salvage.

Houston went on to say

“I believe we are searching in the right area, but we need to visually identify wreckage before we can confirm with certainty that this is the final resting place of MH370,” “They [analysts] believe the signals to be consistent with the specification and description of a flight data recorder,”

We pray that this leads to some form of closure for the grieving families of the passengers as well as the crew.

About Devesh Agarwal

A electronics and automotive product management, marketing and branding expert, he was awarded a silver medal at the Lockheed Martin innovation competition 2010. He is ranked 6th on Mashable's list of aviation pros on Twitter and in addition to Bangalore Aviation, he has contributed to leading publications like Aviation Week, Conde Nast Traveller India, The Economic Times, and The Mint (a Wall Street Journal content partner). He remains a frequent flier and shares the good, the bad, and the ugly about the Indian aviation industry without fear or favour.

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Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER registration 9M-MRO taken at Dhaka, Bangladesh on 11-Feb-2014. This aircraft went missing while performing flight MH370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 persons on board. Photo copyright M. Azizul Islam

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