The Australians have reported that a Chinese ship has reported hearing a ping, a pulse signal for a second time, just hours after they reported hearing a pulse that could have come from the black box recorders.
Jon Donnison from the BBC says:
Given that not a single piece of debris from the missing plane has been found, it would be remarkable if the Chinese ship had managed to stumble across signals from the black box flight recorder without any real idea of where the plane crashed.
Some will ask whether the Chinese know more than they are letting on.
After thousands of man-hours spent searching the ocean he has a point, could a Chinese vessel just have gotten lucky and happened upon the site? The Haixun 01 picked up the first ‘ping’ at 25° south latitude and 101° east longitude, about 1,000 miles northwest of Perth, Australia, on the same frequency used by the black box recorders, 37.5Hz. They were using a hand-held device called a hydrophone. Mounted on the end of a pole it was held over the side of a very small Chinese boat.
Experts have said that discovering the wreckage with this method is not entirely impossible but is extremely unlikely.
Geoffry Thomas, editor in chief of AirlineRatings.com said:
“If the Chinese have discovered this, they have found a new way of finding a needle in a haystack,” said aviation expert Geoffrey Thomas, editor-in-chief of AirlineRatings.com. “Because this is amazing. And if it proves to be correct, it’s an extraordinarily lucky break.”
There are many clicks, buzzes and other sounds in the ocean from animals, but the 37.5 kilohertz pulse was selected for underwater locator beacons because there is nothing else in the sea that would naturally make that sound, said William Waldock, an expert on search and rescue who teaches accident investigation at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Arizona.
“They picked that (frequency) so there wouldn’t be false alarms from other things in the ocean,” he said. (source)
The Australians have also reported getting a signal, but it was over 300 miles from the area in the Chinese report and the feeling is that there is no connection between the two…yet we have an expert saying there is nothing else in the sea that would be picked up at 37.5Hz.
We live in a time when we can track a $500 cell phone to within inches of its location, yet half the nations on Earth can’t find a jumbo jet, even though they supposedly know where it was at roughly the time it ran out of fuel.
There have been some comparisons to the Air France flight that crashed in June 2009. AF 447 fell out of the sky on a routine flight from Rio de Janiero to Paris. Even though it took more than a month to find the first pieces of wreckage there were no accusations of foul play. No Insinuations that the plane had been stashed somewhere, no questions regarding the complicity of any government.
What makes MH370 different? Once it was established early on that the two ‘stolen passport’ passengers were not terrorists the fate of MH370 could have reverted to being nothing more than a terrible air crash, but it didn’t. Why didn’t it?
What secrets about a passenger, or passengers, or cargo, or flight crew are not being released? Why are so many people, in so many different countries implying that the disappearance of MH370 was not ‘just’ another plane crash?
We have to accept that we may never have the answers to these questions. Having said that, how remarkable it would if the Chinese, using outdated and unsophisticated equipment have found something just before the batteries powering the locator on the black boxes fail.
Too remarkable maybe?
Missing Malaysia plane: What we know
Mystery continues to surround the fate of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on 8 March.
Malaysian authorities, assisted by international aviation and satellite experts, are now battling to piece together the plane’s final hours in the hope that they can find its wreckage and explain what happened to its 239 passengers and crew.
Watch the video below to find out about the jet’s last known movements.
What time did the plane disappear?
00:41, 8 March: Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 departed from Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Saturday, 8 March (16:41 GMT, 7 March), and was due to arrive in Beijing at 06:30 (22:30 GMT).
Malaysia Airlines says the plane lost contact less than an hour after takeoff. No distress signal or message was sent.
01:07: The plane sent its last ACARS transmission – a service that allows computers aboard the plane to “talk” to computers on the ground. Some time afterwards, it was silenced and the expected 01:37 transmission was not sent.
01:19: The last communication between the plane and Malaysian air traffic control took place about 12 minutes later. At first, the airline said initial investigations revealed the co-pilot had said “All right, good night”. However, Malaysian authorities later confirmed the last words heard from the plane, spoken either by the pilot or co-pilot, were in fact “Good night Malaysian three seven zero”.
A few minutes later, the plane’s transponder, which communicates with ground radar, was shut down as the aircraft crossed from Malaysian air traffic control into Vietnamese airspace over the South China Sea.
01:21: The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam said the plane failed to check in as scheduled with air traffic control in Ho Chi Minh City.
02:15: Malaysian military radar plotted Flight MH370 at a point south of Phuket island in the Strait of Malacca, west of its last known location. Thai military radar logs also confirmed that the plane turned west and then north over the Andaman sea.
08:11: (00:11 GMT, 8 March) Seven hours after contact with air traffic control was lost, a satellite above the Indian Ocean picked up data from the plane in the form of an automatic “handshake” between the aircraft and a ground station.
This information, disclosed a week after the plane’s disappearance, suggested the jet was in one of two flight corridors, one stretching north between Thailand and Kazakhstan, the other south between Indonesia and the southern Indian Ocean.
08:19: There is some evidence of a further “partial handshake” at this time between the plane and a ground station but experts are still working on analysing this data, the Malaysian transport minister said on 25 March.
09:15: (01:15 GMT) This would have been the next scheduled automatic contact between the ground station and the plane but there was no response from the aircraft.
What happened next?
The plane’s planned route would have taken it north-eastwards, over Cambodia and Vietnam, and the initial search focused on the South China Sea, south of Vietnam’s Ca Mau peninsula.
But evidence from a military radar, revealed later, suggested the plane had suddenly changed from its northerly course to head west. So the search, involving dozens of ships and planes, then switched to the sea west of Malaysia.
Further evidence revealed on Saturday 15 March by the Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak suggested the jet was deliberately diverted by someone on board about an hour after takeoff.
After MH370’s last communication with a satellite was disclosed, a week after the plane’s disappearance, the search was expanded dramatically to nearly three million square miles, from Kazakhstan in the north to vast areas of the remote southern Indian Ocean.
Then, on 20 March, Australian search teams revealed they were investigating two objects spotted on satellite images in the southern Indian Ocean and sent long-range surveillance planes to the area, followed by further sightings. An Australian ship arrived in the area and further vessels are on their way.
At 1400 GMT on 24 March the Malaysian prime minister announced that following further analysis of satellite data it was beyond doubt that the plane had gone down in this part of the ocean.
This was based on Inmarsat and UK air accident investigators’ analysis of the data relayed between the plane and ground station by satellite.
More potential debris was spotted by satellites but on 28 March the main search area was moved 1,100km (684 miles) to the north-east and closer to Australia, following further analysis of the speed of the plane and its maximum range.
Malaysian officials said that the debris could still be consistent with the new search area as ocean currents may have moved floating objects. However, no debris has yet been verified as being from the plane.
On 5-6 April, Australian and Chinese vessels using underwater listening equipment detected ultrasonic signals from the plane’s black box flight recorders, in what appears to be the most promised lead so far.
Who was on board?
The 12 crew members were all Malaysian, led by pilots Captain Zaharie Ahmed Shah, 53 and 27-year-old co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid.
Police have searched their homes and a flight simulator has been taken from the captain’s home and reassembled for examination at police headquarters.
Other passengers came from Iran, the US, Canada, Indonesia, Australia, India, France, New Zealand, Ukraine, Russia, Taiwan and the Netherlands.
Two Iranian men were found to be travelling on false passports. But further investigation revealed 19-year-old Pouria Nour Mohammad Mehrdad and Delavar Seyed Mohammadreza, 29 were headed for Europe via Beijing, and had no apparent links to terrorist groups.
Among the Chinese nationals was a delegation of 19 prominent artists who had attended an exhibition in Kuala Lumpur.
Malaysia Airlines said there were four passengers who checked in for the flight but did not show up at the airport.
The family members of those on board were informed by in person, by phone and by text message on 24 March that the plane had been lost.
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