Abbott confident signals detected in search are from missing plane's black box

Friday 11 April 2014 19.42
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A Royal Australian Air Force plane conducts a low-level fly in the search for Flight MH370
A Royal Australian Air Force plane conducts a low-level fly in the search for Flight MH370
A searcher is lowered into the water from a Seahawk helicopter to retrieve possible debris earlier this week
A searcher is lowered into the water from a Seahawk helicopter to retrieve possible debris earlier this week
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said they have narrowed down the search area
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said they have narrowed down the search area
The Australian vessel Ocean Shield picked up the first signals thought to be linked to the missing plane
The Australian vessel Ocean Shield picked up the first signals thought to be linked to the missing plane

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said he is "very confident" that signals detected in the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 were from the aircraft's black box.

"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," Mr Abbott said in China.

The plane went missing on 8 March en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

Australia has been leading the search for the Boeing 777 aircraft, ever since the operation was moved to the Indian Ocean.

More than 100 flights over the remote area off western Australia have so far failed to return a single piece of debris from the plane.

However, four signals or "pings" linked to aircraft beacons have been detected by an Australian ship.

The first two of these, which were picked up by the Australian Ocean Shield vessel using US equipment, have been analysed as being consistent with those from black box data recorders.

Speaking in Shanghai, Mr Abbott said the search area had now been "very much narrowed down because we've now had a series of detections, some for quite a long period of time".

"Nevertheless, we're getting to the stage where the signal from what we are very confident is the black box is starting to fade," he said.

"We are hoping to get as much information as we can before the signal finally expires."

Mr Abbott said he did not want to go into any further detail until he had briefed Chinese President Xi Jinping on the investigation.

About two-thirds of the 239 people onboard Flight MH370 were Chinese.

He added: "We are confident that we know the position of the black box flight recorder to within some kilometres.

"But confidence in the approximate position of the black box is not the same as recovering wreckage from almost 4.5 kilometres beneath the sea or finally determining all that happened on that flight."

Mr Abbott also offered support for Chinese relatives mourning loved ones lost in the tragedy.

"I grieve with all the bereaved, especially the family and friends of the 154 Chinese victims, and I offer them the assurance that Australia will not rest until we have done everything we can to provide comfort and closure," he said.

Keywords: malaysia, mh370